William R. Frensley recieved the B.S. degree in physics from the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, in 1973 and the Ph.D. degree in physics from the University of Colorado, Boulder, in 1976. His thesis research concerned the theory of the electronic structure of semiconductor heterojunctions. He continued this work in a post-doctoral position at the University of California at Santa Barbara.
In 1977 he joined the Central Reaearch Laboratories of Texas Instruments, Incorporated, where at first he did experimental and theoretical work on GaAs MESFET's. He contributed to the development of GaAs bipolar transistor ICs and more novel, vertically-structured GaAs FETs. While at TI, he also worked on quantum-effect heterostructure devices, contributing to the conceptual design and evaluation of tunneling devices. As a part of this work he developed several theoretical approaches to the simulation of tunneling devices, including both rapid-response design aids and more comprehensive physical models.
In 1990 he became a Professor in the Electrical Engineering program at the University of Texas at Dallas, where he has continued the development of simulation and design tools for heterostructure devices. In 1995 he was appointed Head of the Electrical Engineering program, and served in this capacity until 2000.