DURHAM – Elif Balkas, who has worked at Wolfspeed since 2006 and served as vice president for research and development, is the new chief technology officer at the Durham-based semiconductor and power technology firm.

Balkas succeeds longtime CTO and company cofounder Dr. John Palmour who died recently.

“I’m excited to continue building upon the legacy that John created and unlock new innovations and applications for Silicon Carbide,” said Balkas in  a statement. “It’s an exciting time of growth at Wolfspeed and I look forward to the new challenge of finding greater efficiencies as we continue to expand the reach of our technology.”

Wolfspeed CEO noted that “Elif has been instrumental in our technology and production development, and she was the clear choice to help steer Wolfspeed as we continue to lead the transition from silicon to Silicon Carbide. One of John’s greatest legacies is the talent he nurtured and developed on the Wolfspeed team, and we are confident Elif will continue to drive innovation in Silicon Carbide with passion, ingenuity and leadership.”

Balkasa received her Ph.D. in materials science from N.C. State University. She has helped shape Wolfspeed’s evolution as a global leader focused on development of Silicon Carbide over traditional silicon in semiconductors.

“In her role as Vice President of Research and Development in Wolfspeed’s Materials organization, Balkas shaped the company’s technical strategy on wide bandgap materials and drove its development execution to maintain Wolfspeed’s position as a leader in Silicon Carbide for Power and RF device applications,” Wolfspeed noted. “She has overseen multiple significant technology milestones during her tenure at the company, including the development of 150mm and 200mm boule growth systems and processes, the dramatic reduction in crystal defect levels that saw higher device yields, and advancements in wafer processing.”

Remembering Cree/Wolfspeed co-founder John Palmour, 62