esaki diode

Leo Esaki


Leona Esaki also known as Leo Esaki (江崎 玲於奈 Esaki Reona, born March 12, 1925) is a Japanese physicist who shared the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1973 with Ivar Giaever and Brian David Josephson for his discovery of the phenomenon of electron tunneling. He is known for his invention of the Esaki diode, which exploited that phenomenon. This research was done when he was with Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo (now known as Sony). He has also contributed as a pioneer of semiconductor superlattice while he was with IBM.


He was born in Osaka, Japan. Studying physics at the University of Tokyo, he received his B.Sc. in 1947 and his Ph.D. in 1959. His Nobel prize was awarded for research he had conducted around 1958 regarding electron tunneling in solids. He moved to the United States in 1960 and joined the IBM T. J. Watson Research Center, where he became an IBM Fellow in 1967. His first paper on semiconductor superlattice was published when he was with IBM.

Subsequently, he served as the President of various Japanese universities, for example, University of Tsukuba. Since 2006, he is serving as the President of the Yokohama College of Pharmacy.

Esaki is the recipient of The International Center in New York's Award of Excellence.

Notable papers

Leo Esaki, "New phenomenon of narrow germanium p-n junctions", Phys. Rev., vol. 109 (1958), pp. 603-604. (This is his first paper on tunnel diodes.)

L. Esaki and R. Tsu, "Superlattice and negative differential conductivity in semiconductors", IBM Journal of Research and Development, vol. 14, no. 1 (January 1970), pp. 61-65. (This is his first paper on semiconductor superlattice.)


  • Large scale integrated circuits technology : state of the art and prospects : proceedings of the NATO Advanced Study Institute on "Large Scale Integrated Circuits Technology: State of the Art and Prospects," Erice, Italy, July 15-27, 1981 / edited by Leo Esaki and Giovanni Soncini(1982)
  • Highlights in condensed matter physics and future prospects / edited by Leo Esaki(1991)

External links

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