The History of Semiconductor Heterostructures Research: From Early Double Heterostructure Concept to Modern Quantum Dot Structures

By Zhores I. Alferov

Ioffe Institute

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It would be very difficult today to imagine solid-state physics without semiconductor heterostructures. Semiconductor heterostructures and especially double heterostructures, including quantum wells, quantum wires and quantum dots, currently comprise the object of investigation of two thirds of all research groups in the physics of semiconductors.

The development of the physics and technology of semiconductor heterostructures has brought about tremendous changes in our everyday lives. Heterostructure-based electron devices are widely used in many areas of human activity. Life without telecommunication systems utilizing double-heterostructure (DHS) lasers, without heterostructure light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and bipolar transistors, or without the low- noise, high-electron-mobility transistors (HEMTs) used in high-frequency devices, including satellite television systems, is scarcely conceivable. Solar cells incorporating heterostructures are used extensively in both space and terrestrial programs.


Zhores I. Alferov Prof. Zhores I. Alferov contributed significantly to the creation of modern heterostructure physics and electronics. He is an inventor of the heterotransistor and the winner of the 2000 Nobel Prize in Physics. For his outstanding achievements, Prof. Alferov was honored with many Soviet, Russian and International awards, such as: Franklin Institute Ballantyne Medal (USA, 1971); Lenin Prize (USSR, 1972); Nick Holonyak Jr. Award (Optical Society of America, 2000); Nobel Prize (Sweden, 2000); Kyoto Prize (Inamori Foundation, Japan, 2001); State Prize (Russian Federation, 2001); Golden Plate Award (Academy of Achievement, U.S.A., 2002); Golden Medal of the International Society for Optical Engineering (SPIE, 2002); Global Energy Prize (Russian Federation, 2005) and many others. Prof. Alferov is a member and Vice President of the USSR Academy of Sciences and President of its Saint Petersburg Scientific Center. He is a foreign member of the USA National Academy of Engineering and the USA National Academy of Science. He is also a foreign member of Academies of Science in many other countries throughout the world.

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  • Zhores I. Alferov (2011), "The History of Semiconductor Heterostructures Research: From Early Double Heterostructure Concept to Modern Quantum Dot Structures,"

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