Professor Alf Adams

Professor Alf Adams FRS is a well-known British physicist who invented the strained-layer quantum-well laser, considered to be one of the top ten greatest UK scientific breakthroughs of all time.

It powers the internet, CDs, DVDs, supermarket checkouts and billions of other devices.

Life timeline

YearLife event
1967Joins the University of Surrey
1980Takes a sabbatical to work on semiconductor lasers at the Toyko Institute of Technology in Japan
1986Along with his team, he 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
1995Awared the Duddell Medal and Prize
1996Elected Fellow of the Royal Society
2012He gives the inaugural lecture at the Royal Society, for the Alf Adams lecture series, established to showcase the University of Surrey's ground-breaking research
2014Awarded the Rank Prize for Optoelectronics for his work on strained-layer quantum well lasers
2014In March, he was subject of the BBC Radio 4 programme, Professor Jim Al-Khalili's The Life Scientific
2015Since retirement from the University of Surrey, he holds the position of Emeritus Professor

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