Zhores Ivanovich Alferov
15 March 1930
|Died||1 March 2019 (aged 88)|
|Nationality||Soviet (until 1991) / Russian (since 1991)|
|Alma mater||Saint Petersburg State Electrotechnical University "LETI" (old name V. I. Ulyanov Electrotechnical Institute "LETI")|
|Awards||Global Energy Prize (2005) |
Kyoto Prize in Advanced Technology (2001)
Nobel Prize in Physics (2000)
Demidov Prize (1999)
Ioffe Prize (Russian Academy of Sciences, 1996)
USSR State Prize (1984)
Lenin Prize (1972)
Stuart Ballantine Medal (1971)
Order of Lenin (1986)
|Institutions||Ioffe Physico-Technical Institute|
Zhores Ivanovich Alferov (Russian: Жоре́с Ива́нович Алфёров, [ʐɐˈrɛs ɪˈvanəvʲɪtɕ ɐɫˈfʲɵrəf]; Belarusian: Жарэс Іва́навіч Алфёраў; 15 March 1930 – 1 March 2019) was a Soviet and Russian physicist and academic who contributed significantly to the creation of modern heterostructure physics and electronics. He shared the 2000 Nobel Prize in Physics for the development of the semiconductor heterojunction for optoelectronics. He also became a politician in his later life, serving in the lower house of the Russian parliament, the State Duma, as a member of the communist party since 1995.
Alferov was born in Vitebsk, Byelorussian SSR, Soviet Union, to a Belarusian father, Ivan Karpovich Alferov, a factory manager, and a Jewish mother, Anna Vladimirovna Rosenblum. He was named after French socialist Jean Jaurès while his older brother was named Marx after Karl Marx. Alferov graduated from secondary school in Minsk in 1947 and started Belarusian Polytechnic Academy. In 1952, he received his B.S. from the V. I. Ulyanov (Lenin) Electrotechnical Institute (LETI) in Leningrad. Starting in 1953, Alferov worked in the Ioffe Physico-Technical Institute of the Academy of Sciences of the Soviet Union. From the institute, he earned several scientific degrees: a Candidate of Sciences in Technology in 1961 and a Doctor of Sciences in Physics and Mathematics in 1970.
Alferov then served as the director of the Ioffe Institute from 1987 to 2003. He was elected a corresponding member of the Academy of Sciences of the Soviet Union in 1972, and a full member in 1979. From 1989, he was Vice-President of the USSR Academy of Sciences and President of its Saint Petersburg Scientific Center. In 1995 he became a member of the State Duma on the list of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation.
Starting at Ioffe Institute in 1953, Alferov worked with a group led by Vladimir Tuchkevich, who became director of the Ioffe Institute in 1967, on planar semiconductor amplifiers for use in radio receivers.: 125–128 These planar semiconductor amplifiers would be referred to as transistors in the present day. Alferov's contribution included work on germanium diodes for use as a rectifier.
In the early 1960s, Alferov organized an effort at Ioffe Institute to develop semiconductor heterostructures. Semiconductor heterojunctions transistors enabled higher frequency use than their homojunction predecessors, and this capability plays a key role in modern mobile phone and satellite communications. Alferov and colleagues worked on GaAs and AlAs III-V heterojunctions. A particular focus was the use of heterojunctions to create semiconductor lasers capable of lasing at room temperature. In 1963, Alferov filed a patent application proposing double-heterostructure lasers; Herbert Kroemer independently filed a US patent several months later. In 1966, Alferov's lab created the first lasers based on heterostructures, although they did not lase continuously. Then in 1968, Alferov and coworkers produced the first continuous-wave semiconductor heterojunction laser operating at room temperature.: 163–167 This achievement came a month ahead of Izuo Hayashi and Morton Panish of Bell Labs also producing a continuous-wave room-temperature heterojunction laser.
It was for this work that Alferov received the 2000 Nobel Prize in Physics together with Herbert Kroemer, "for developing semiconductor heterostructures used in high-speed- and optoelectronics".
In the 1960s and 1970s Alferov continued his work on the physics and technology of semiconductor heterostructures in his lab at the Ioffe Institute. Alferov's investigations of injection properties of semiconductors and his contributions to the development of lasers, solar cells, LEDs, and epitaxy processes, led to the creation of modern heterojunction physics and electronics. The development of semiconductor heterojunctions revolutionized semiconductor design, and had a range of immediate commercial applications including LEDs, barcode readers and CDs. Hermann Grimmeiss of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, which awards Nobel prizes, said: "Without Alferov, it would not be possible to transfer all the information from satellites down to the Earth or to have so many telephone lines between cities."
Alferov had an almost messianic conception of heterostructures, writing: "Many scientists have contributed to this remarkable progress, which not only determines in large measure the future prospects of solid state physics but in a certain sense affects the future of human society as well."
In 1987, Alferov became the fifth director of the Ioffe Institute. In 1989, Alferov gained the administrative position of chairman of the Leningrad Scientific Center, now referred to as the St. Petersburg Scientific Center. In the Leningrad region, this scientific center is an overarching organization comprising 70 institutions, organizations, enterprises, and scientific societies.: 196 As a director and chairman, Alferov sought to ensure support for scientific research through a time of changing political and economic conditions.
Alferov worked to foster relationships between early educational institutions and scientific research institutions to train the next generation of scientists, citing Peter the Great's vision for the Russian Academy of Sciences to be organized with a scientific research core in close contact with a gymnasium (secondary school).: 199 In 1987, Alferov and colleagues at the Ioffe Institute established a secondary school in Saint Petersburg, the School of Physics and Technology, under the umbrella of the Ioffe charter. In 1997 Alferov founded the Research and Education Center at the Ioffe Institute and in 2002, this center officially became a new university, the Saint Petersburg Academic University, after gaining a charter to award masters and PhD degrees. In 2009, the Saint Petersburg Academic University was reorganized to officially combine the secondary school, School of Physics and Technology, within the organizational structure of the university, closely linking scientific education to research.
In the 2000s, through his role in academic administration and in parliament, Alferov advocated for and worked to advance Russia's nanotechnology sector. The primary research charter of the Saint Petersburg Academic University, which Alferov founded, was the development of nanotechnology. Alferov provided a consistent voice in parliament in favor of increased scientific funding. In 2006, Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov announced the creation of a federal agency, Rosnanotekh to pursue nanotechnology applications.
Alferov was elected to the Russian Parliament, the State Duma, in 1995 as a deputy for the political party Our Home – Russia, generally considered to be supportive of the policies of President Boris Yeltsin. In 1999 he was elected again, this time on the list of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation. He was re-elected in 2003 and again in 2007, when he was placed second on the party's federal electoral list behind Gennady Zyuganov and ahead of Nikolai Kharitonov, even though he was not a member of the party.
He was one of the signers of the Open letter to the President Vladimir V. Putin from the Members of the Russian Academy of Sciences against clericalisation of Russia. Alferov was an atheist and expressed objections to religious education.
Alferov served on the advisory council of CRDF Global.
Since November 2018, Alferov suffered from hypertensive emergency. He died at the age of 88 on 1 March 2019. Alferov is survived by his wife, Tamara Darskaya and their two children, a daughter Olga and a son Ivan.