Erica A. Douglas, Ph.D.

Emerging Leader

Erica A. Douglas, Ph.D., Emerging Leader, Headshot

Erica A. Douglas, Ph.D.

Sandia National Laboratories

For exceptional leadership informed by scientific and engineering prowess; for mentoring students and collaborators alike; and for generously sharing knowledge that fuels the intellectual passions of others.

Erica A. Douglas, Ph.D., is an R&D manager for Sandia National Laboratories. In this role, she leads the materials characterization and performance department within Sandia’s Material, Physical, and Chemical Sciences Center, which develops and applies materials characterization systems and analytical techniques to assess the structure, composition, and properties of all material types, at all material scales, and through built-up systems to improve performance. These capabilities are applied in a multitude of facets ranging from supporting national security to the research community in order to shed light on fundamental materials mechanisms or even to determine the root cause of a material’s failure.

Dr. Douglas’ materials science interests began with an undergraduate research fellowship in condensed matter physics at the University of Florida and continued at a venture capitalist-sponsored startup, Applied Plasmonics. There, her work focused on fabrication of engineered silver nanostructures to emit visible light and terahertz radiation.

Having gained a passion for semiconductors and fabrication, Dr. Douglas pursued a Ph.D. in materials science and engineering, primarily focused on studying reliability issues and failure mechanisms in wide bandgap GaN (gallium nitride) high electron mobility transistors, providing fundamental understanding into catastrophic breakdown issues and infant mortality in GaN devices, a key U.S. military concern.

After obtaining her Ph.D., Dr. Douglas joined the microelectronics fabrication team at Sandia. She rapidly progressed through the technical ranks, emerging as a leader with a passion for science and mentoring. As a manager within Sandia’s Microsystems Engineering, Science and Applications Center, Dr. Douglas led the United States Department of Energy’s only trusted, strategic radiation-hardened compound semiconductor fabrication facility. There, she was accountable for operations, safety, and programmatic support for 40+ research programs.

Her technical achievements include more than 70 published journal articles and conference proceedings, three patents, and three book chapters, as well as an R&D 100 award for “Ultra-Wide-Bandgap Power Electronics.”

Dr. Douglas is dedicated to creating an environment where people can pursue their passions, achieve their potential, deliver impactful products, and conduct pioneering research to shape the future. She is a dedicated champion of continued education, advocacy, and professional development of women in STEM. She has trained and mentored technicians, engineering and postdoctoral staff, and student interns. The contributions from those she has mentored are immense, and growing.

Her outreach is universal. She leads at the international level within professional technical societies and participates in outreach programs targeting students from elementary school through university. Her outreach extends from undergraduate scholarship awards for New Mexico’s American Vacuum Society (AVS) to judging local grade and middle school science fairs, to national chapter involvement as executive committee member for AVS and the Electrochemical Society. Dr. Douglas also serves as Sandia’s deputy campus executive to the University of Florida.

She holds a B.S. in physics and an M.S. and a Ph.D. in materials science and engineering, all from the University of Florida.

Outside of work, Dr. Douglas enjoys spending time mountain biking and camping with her husband and two children.