Lester F. Eastman Award for Prof. Ambacher

Dec 19, 2022: Professor Ambacher has been awarded with the Lester F. Eastman Award for his pioneering and continuing research and development on high-power gallium nitride devices.

The award has been given annually since 2019 by the IEEE Electron Device Society for outstanding achievements in the field of high-power semiconductor devices and carries a prize money of €2000. The award was presented in person on Dec. 5 2022, at the annual IEEE International Electron Devices Meeting (IEDM) in San Francisco.

Gallium nitride-based devices have accompanied Oliver Ambacher's scientific work since the beginning of his doctorate in 1989 at the Ludwig Maximilian University and the Technical University of Munich. Subsequently, as a research associate at the Walter Schottky Institute in Munich, he worked on the growth of GaN by molecular beam epitaxy and chemical vapor deposition. From 1995 onwards, he focused on polarization-induced effects in GaN heterostructures, thus enabling his later successes. During his research stay as an Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Fellow at Cornell University (1998-1999) in the research group of Professor Eastman, the award's namesake, he expanded his understanding of the physics of semiconductor nitrides to further develop AlGaN/GaN transistors for high-frequency power amplifiers. In 2000, he completed his habilitation in experimental physics and in 2001 received a call for the professorship of nanotechnology at the Technical University of Ilmenau.

In Freiburg, as head of the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Solid State Physics and professor for compound semiconductors at the Albert-Ludwigs-University (2007-2015), he continuously supported young scientists with a special focus on GaN-based power electronics.

Since 2017, INATECH's Gips-Schüle Professorship for Power Electronics, under Ambacher's leadership, has contributed significantly to the development of energy-efficient power electronics, including research on high-efficiency GaN-based power amplifiers. Professor Ambacher's years of experience in the physics of semiconductor nitrides and power electronics are also helpful in understanding new materials such as scandium aluminum nitride (ScAlN) and improving semiconductor devices. This knowledge transfer is evident, for example, in the most recent publication on ScAlN/GaN heterostructures, "Electron accumulation and distribution at interfaces of hexagonal ScxAl1-xN/GaN- and ScxAl1-xN/InN-heterostructures" (Ambacher et al. 2022, https://doi.org/10.1063/5.0094533). This work enables the integration of low-noise amplifiers into devices of different mobile communication standards such as 5G, LTE or WLAN. Thus, the vision of the chair of reducing energy losses of communication and energy transforming system is realized.


Prof. Dr. Oliver Ambacher
Chair for Power Electronics
Department of Sustainable Systems Engineering - INATECH
University of Freiburg
E-Mail: oliver.ambacher(a)inatech.uni-freiburg.de

M.Sc. Saskia Mihalic
Scientific Assistent
Department of Sustainable Systems Engineering - INATECH
University of Freiburg
Tel.: 0761/203-95269
E-Mail: saskia.mihalic(a)inatech.uni-freiburg.de

Kerstin Steiger-Merx
Representative PR/Marketing
Faculty of Engineering
University of Freiburg
Tel.: 0761/203-8056
E-Mail: steiger-merx@tf.uni-freiburg.de