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Alfred Adams wins optoelectronics prize for no strain, no gain

One of the research discoveries made by the professor was that the electronic band structure of quantum well lasers were improved by growing the active layer in a strained condition
Alfred Adams, Distinguished Professor of Physics at the University of Surrey, has been awarded the Rank Prize for his research into the structure of semiconductor lasers.

The findings of this research, now forms the basis of many every-day technologies, from DVD and Blu-ray storage, to optical fibre communications and the Internet.

In 1986, Adams and his team proposed that the electronic band structure of quantum well lasers could be significantly improved by deliberately growing the active layer in a state of strain. The results of this work now dominate the entire semiconductor laser market, with approximately one billion produced each year, for a market valued at around $5B.

Adams says, “I feel greatly honoured to receive this prestigious award. In doing so, I would like to honour the efforts of the many engineers who have made such a difference to every-day life through so many ingenious applications of our research.”

The prize was jointly awarded to Adams’s co-researcher O’Reilly, now working at the Tyndall Institute, and to Eli Yablonovitch at Bell Communications Research and Gordon Osbourn at Sandia National Laboratories, for their independent work.

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