The Nobel Prize in Physics 2000
Born: 25 August 1928, Weimar, Germany
Affiliation at the time of the award: University of California, Santa Barbara, CA, USA
Prize motivation: “for developing semiconductor heterostructures used in high-speed- and opto-electronics”
Prize share: 1/4
Semiconductors, materials with properties between those of electrical conductors and insulators, are the basis for most electronic components. Some components use heterostructures, in which semiconductor materials lie in thin sheets. In 1957 Herbert Kroemer developed a proposal for a transistor built on heterostructures, and in 1963, at the same time as but independently of Zhores Alferov, Kroemer also built a heterostructure that acted as a laser. These components have since become important in telecommunications, for example.
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