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Zhores Alferov

15 March 2016

Today is the birthday of Zhores Alferov, born in Vitebsk, Belorussia, USSR (now Belarus), in 1930. He received a doctorate in physics and math from AF Ioffe Physico-Technical Institute in 1970. But Alferov made his mark on technology before then. In 1966 he and his team built the first practical electronic device made from semiconductor heterostructures, which consist of layers of different materials, not just silicon. He later developed the heterostructure laser. Without these inventions, you wouldn't be reading this post right now. Heterostructure transistors and lasers enable satellite communications, light-emitting diodes, and fiber-optic transmissions that form the infrastructure of the Internet. Alferov shared the 2000 Nobel Prize in Physics with Herbert Kroemer and Jack Kilby. (Image credit: RIA Novosti archive, image #793190 / Grigory Sysoev / CC-BY-SA 3.0)

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