Alf Adams

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Alfred "Alf" Rodney Adams (born November 11, 1939 ) is a British physicist. He is considered to be the inventor of the strained layer quantum well laser (English quantum well laser , where strained layer stands for deformed layers ), a type of semiconductor laser that was widely used in telecommunications and other areas. Until his retirement he was a professor at the University of Surrey , where he led the research group for optoelectronic devices and materials.

Adams studied physics at the University of Leicester with a doctorate under Walter Eric Spear and was a post-doctoral student at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology . He then went to the University of Surrey, where he carried out high-pressure studies in semiconductor research, specifically on gallium arsenide. Adams studied semiconductor lasers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology in the early 1980s and looked for ways to improve their performance.

In 1986 he invented the strained quantum well laser after an idea that came to him while on vacation in Bournemouth. The thin crystal layers of the active laser material are deformed by compression pressure as the crystals grow. He published in the same year and in 1988 he received around £ 500,000 from the Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to develop the idea with Philips Electronics (although he did not patent the invention). It enabled the development of cost-effective and high-performance lasers for CDs and DVDs and is now found in almost all lasers in telecommunications, in cash register scanners, etc.

He has been a Fellow of the Royal Society since 1996 . In 1995 he received the Duddell Medal . In 2014 he received the Rank Prize in Optoelectronics.

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