Zhores Alferov

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Zhores Alferov
Zhores Alfyorov 2012.jpg
Alferov in 2012
Zhores Ivanovich Alferov

(1930-03-15)15 March 1930
Died1 March 2019(2019-03-01) (aged 88)
NationalitySoviet (until 1991) / Russian (since 1991)
Alma mater Saint Petersburg State Electrotechnical University "LETI" (old name V. I. Ulyanov Electrotechnical Institute "LETI")
Known forHeterotransistors
Spouse(s)Tamara Darskaya (m. 1967–2019; his death)
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)
Scientific career
Fields Applied physics
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 was the inventor of the heterotransistor and shared the 2000 Nobel Prize in Physics. 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.

Russian language East Slavic language

Russian is an East Slavic language, which is official in the Russian Federation, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, as well as being widely used throughout Eastern Europe, the Baltic states, the Caucasus and Central Asia. It was the de facto language of the Soviet Union until its dissolution on 25 December 1991. Although nearly three decades have passed since the breakup of the Soviet Union, Russian is used in official capacity or in public life in all the post-Soviet nation-states, as well as in Israel and Mongolia.

Belarusian is an East Slavic language spoken by Belarusians. It is the official language of Belarus, along with Russian. It is additionally spoken in parts of Russia, Poland and Ukraine by Belarusian minorities in those countries.

Soviet Union 1922–1991 country in Europe and Asia

The Soviet Union, officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), was a Marxist-Leninist sovereign state in Eurasia that existed from 1922 to 1991. Nominally a union of multiple national Soviet republics, its government and economy were highly centralized. The country was a one-party state, governed by the Communist Party with Moscow as its capital in its largest republic, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. Other major urban centres were Leningrad, Kiev, Minsk, Tashkent, Alma-Ata, and Novosibirsk. It spanned over 10,000 kilometres (6,200 mi) east to west across 11 time zones, and over 7,200 kilometres (4,500 mi) north to south. It had five climate zones: tundra, taiga, steppes, desert and mountains.


Early life and education

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. [1] [2] He was named after French socialist Jean Jaurès while his older brother was named Marx after Karl Marx. [1] In 1947 he completed high school 42 in Minsk and started Belarusian Polytechnic Academy. In 1952, he graduated from V. I. Ulyanov (Lenin) Electrotechnical Institute in Leningrad. Starting in 1953 he worked in the Ioffe Physico-Technical Institute of the USSR Academy of Sciences. 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. He was director of the Institute from 1987 to 2003. He was elected a corresponding member of the USSR Academy of Sciences 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. Starting in 1995 he was a member of the State Duma on the list of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation. In 2000 he received the Nobel Prize in Physics together with Herbert Kroemer, "for developing semiconductor heterostructures used in high-speed- and optoelectronics". [3]

Vitebsk City in Viciebsk Region, Belarus

Vitebsk, or Viciebsk, is a city in Belarus. The capital of the Viciebsk Region, it had 342,381 inhabitants in 2004, making it the country's fourth-largest city. It is served by Viciebsk Vostochny Airport and Viciebsk Air Base.

Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic one of fifteen constituent republics of the Soviet Union (USSR); founding member of the United Nations Organization in 1945; now Belarus

The Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic, also commonly referred to in English as Byelorussia, was a federal unit of the Soviet Union (USSR). It existed between 1920 and 1922, and from 1922 to 1991 as one of fifteen constituent republics of the USSR, with its own legislation from 1990 to 1991. The republic was ruled by the Communist Party of Byelorussia and was also referred to as Soviet Byelorussia by a number of historians.

Belarusians ; also Byelorussians, are an East Slavic ethnic group who are native to modern-day Belarus and the immediate region. There are over 9.5 million people who proclaim Belarusian ethnicity worldwide, with the majority residing either in Belarus or the adjacent countries where they are an autochthonous minority.

Alferov invented the heterotransistor. This coped with much higher frequencies than its predecessors, and apparently revolutionised the mobile phone and satellite communications. Alferov and Kroemer independently applied this technology to firing laser lights. This, in turn, revolutionised semiconductor design in a host of areas, including LEDs, barcode readers and CDs. [3]

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." [4]

Hermann Grimmeiss, is a German-Swedish physicist. He became the first professor of solid-state physics at Lund University in 1965, and he held his post until his retirement in 1996. He became an important part of the Department of Physics and focused his research on electrical and photoelectric studies of semiconductor defects. He was elected as a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences in 1977 and the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in 1978.

Research area

After 1962 Alferov worked in the area of semiconductor heterostructures. His contributions to physics and technology of semiconductor heterostructures, especially investigations of injection properties, development of lasers, solar cells, LEDs, and epitaxy processes, have led to the creation of modern heterostructure physics and electronics. [3]

A semiconductor material has an electrical conductivity value falling between that of a conductor, such as metallic copper, and an insulator, such as glass. Its resistance decreases as its temperature increases, which is the behaviour opposite to that of a metal. Its conducting properties may be altered in useful ways by the deliberate, controlled introduction of impurities ("doping") into the crystal structure. Where two differently-doped regions exist in the same crystal, a semiconductor junction is created. The behavior of charge carriers which include electrons, ions and electron holes at these junctions is the basis of diodes, transistors and all modern electronics. Some examples of semiconductors are silicon, germanium, gallium arsenide, and elements near the so-called "metalloid staircase" on the periodic table. After silicon, gallium arsenide is the second most common semiconductor and is used in laser diodes, solar cells, microwave-frequency integrated circuits and others. Silicon is a critical element for fabricating most electronic circuits.

Laser Device which emits light via optical amplification

A laser is a device that emits light through a process of optical amplification based on the stimulated emission of electromagnetic radiation. The term "laser" originated as an acronym for "light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation". The first laser was built in 1960 by Theodore H. Maiman at Hughes Research Laboratories, based on theoretical work by Charles Hard Townes and Arthur Leonard Schawlow.

Solar cell electrical device that converts the energy of light directly into electricity by the photovoltaic effect

A solar cell, or photovoltaic cell, is an electrical device that converts the energy of light directly into electricity by the photovoltaic effect, which is a physical and chemical phenomenon. It is a form of photoelectric cell, defined as a device whose electrical characteristics, such as current, voltage, or resistance, vary when exposed to light. Individual solar cell devices can be combined to form modules, otherwise known as solar panels. In basic terms a single junction silicon solar cell can produce a maximum open-circuit voltage of approximately 0.5 to 0.6 volts.

He 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." [5]

Political activity

Alferov with Vladimir Putin Vladimir Putin 12 October 2000-2.jpg
Alferov with Vladimir Putin

Alferov was elected to the Russian Parliament, the State Duma, in 1995 as a deputy for the political party Our Home is 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. [6]

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. [7] Alferov was an atheist and expressed objections to religious education. [8]

Non-profit service

Alferov served on the advisory council of CRDF Global. [9]

Illness and death

Since November 2018, Alferov suffered from hypertensive emergency. He died at the age of 88 on 1 March 2019. [10] [11]


Alferov speaking at the opening of the Nanotechnology International Forum in Moscow, November 2010. RIAN archive 793190 Opening of Nanotechnology International Forum, Moscow.jpg
Alferov speaking at the opening of the Nanotechnology International Forum in Moscow, November 2010.
Russian and Soviet awards
Foreign awards
Other awards

See also

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  1. 1 2 Алферов, Жорес. Lenta (in Russian). 24 December 2007. Retrieved 26 June 2008.
  2. Zhores Alferov – Facts
  3. 1 2 3 "The Nobel Prize in Physics 2000". NobelPrize.org. Retrieved 2 March 2019.
  4. Staff writers (10 October 2000). "Russian and Americans share hi-tech Nobel". BBC News. Retrieved 26 June 2008.
  5. Lib.semi.ac.cn Archived 7 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine (PDF)
  6. Communists, Patriots Name Their Leaders Archived 22 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine , Kommersant, 7 September 2007.
  7. ""Великий по всем меркам": умер Жорес Алферов". Газета.Ru. Retrieved 2 March 2019.
  8. "Prominent Russians: Zhores Alferov". RT.com. Retrieved 21 April 2012. In public life the scientist was a strong supporter of communism, an atheist strongly objecting to advancement of religious education in Russia, and proponent of science and knowledge as the means to see a better future.
  9. "Dr. Zhores I. Alferov". CRDF Global. Archived from the original on 30 January 2011. Retrieved 31 March 2011.
  10. Умер нобелевский лауреат Жорес Алферов (in Russian). RIA Novosti . Retrieved 2 March 2019.
  11. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/02/obituaries/zhores-alferov-dead.html
  12. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Алферов Жорес Иванович. Атомная энергия 2.0 (in Russian). Retrieved 2 March 2019.
  13. Moscow Society of Naturalists official site (in Russian)