Ludeke received his PhD in Applied Physics from Harvard University in 1968 and began a 38 year industrial research career with the IBM Research Division in Yorktown Heights, NY. He held various staff and research management positions in IBM’s Applied Research and Physical Sciences departments. His areas of research interest covered semiconductor science, materials growth and characterization and the physics of surfaces and interfaces. Among his research highlights he includes the co-invention of the semiconductor superlattice, the first demonstration of its achievability through controlled deposition using molecular beam epitaxy, the discovery of empty and filled surface states on binary semiconductors, and fundamental advances in scanning probe methods, specifically ballistic electron emission spectroscopy and electrostatic (Kelvin) force microscopy. He retired from IBM in 2006.
Ludeke spent a sabbatical year as an Alexander von Humboldt fellow at the Max-Planck-Institute in Stuttgart, Germany. He is a Fellow and life member of the American Physical Society and an Honorary member of the American Vacuum Society (AVS), which he served in various capacities throughout his career from chair of the Electronic Materials and Processing Division, the AVS Board of Directors, Trustee and in 2002 as AVS president. In his retirement, Ludeke continues as the chair of the AVS Governance/Outreach committee and as one of the AVS representative on the Governing Board of the American Institute of Physics. He also continues to serve as a J. Vac. Sci. Technol. Guest Editor for the proceedings of the annual Physics and Chemistry of Surfaces and Interfaces (PCSI) Conference.
For the American Institute of Physics, Ludeke continues to serve as a member of the Governing Board, a voting member of its Executive Committee and the Advisory Committee on Corporate Associates. His past activity with AIP includes the Committee on Committees (now Advisory Panel on Committees), Nominating Committee, Committee on Publishing, Physics Resources Policy Committee (incl. chair), as well as a number of chair-appointed special committees. Ludeke has been an enthusiastic advocate for industrial outreach, in particular with regard to a wider impact achieved when the Industrial Physics Forum (IPF) is held at AIP member society events. He has co-chaired the program committee for four IPF’s held at the AVS International Symposia and is on the committee for the 2012 IPF in Trieste, Italy.