Gerhard Abstreiter

Prof. Dr. rer. nat.

TUM Department of Physics
Former Professor of Experimental Semiconductor Physics, Director of the Walter Schottky Institute and the Institute for Advanced Study

born November 27, 1946

Scientific work

As the author of more than 600 scientific publications, Gerhard Abstreiter is an internationally renowned researcher in the field of semiconductor physics. He has made groundbreaking contributions in the identification and classification of the structural, electrical, and optical properties of semiconductor-nanostructures, as well as the use of molecular beam expitaxy for the realization of ultra-pure hetero- and nanostructures. His team has been at the global cutting edge in research into semiconductor-nanostructures since the establishment of the Walter Schottky Institute by Gerhard Abstreiter (1988).He founded the field of low-dimension electron systems, and has carried out pioneering work that is recognized worldwide in many fields. This applies to his pioneering identifications of the charge carrying properties of silicon MOSsystems,as well as for his groundbreaking discovery that highly mobile electron gases can be generated by tensioning silicon-germanium. Gerhard Abstreiter’s findings are applied in nearly all complex microelectronic circuits,and were the basis for his invention of a heterostructural-field-effect-transistor,which is, for example, used as a low-noise pre-amplifier in satellite antennas,and in mobile telephones. He established the field of semiconductor Quantum dots,and made it a flourishing one by carrying out the first spectroscopic detection of the discrete shell structure of electrons and excitons. The mainfocus areas of recent work in this field is on the possible uses of spin propertiesin semiconductors, as well as in the realization of hetero-nano wires. Abstreiter’s team succeeded in giving a functional demonstration of a GaAs based nanowire laser built directly on silicon. His diverse activities also encompass the manipulation of DNA on gold surfaces, and the development of semiconductor based building parts for uses in the fields of biosensorics and molecular electronics. Gerhard Abstreiter has won many awards for his accomplishments in semiconductor physics and nano science, as well as receiving recognition for his work worldwide.

 150 Alumni Stories - TUM Emeritus of Excellence Gerhard Abstreiter: "I wanted to understand the universe"

Short biography

1968 – 1973Studies in Physics, TUM
1973 – 1975Doctorate, TUM
1975 – 1979Research Assistant, Max-Planck-Institute for Solid State Research, Stuttgart and Grenoble
1979 – 1987Team leader and habilitation (1984), TUM Department of Physics
1987 – 2013Professor for Experimental Semiconductor Physics and Director at the Walter Schottky Institute(1988), TUM
2010Carl von Linde Senior Fellow, Institute for Advanced Study, TUM
2013 – 2015Director of the Institute for Advanced Study, TUM


Memberships and honors

Visiting Professor, University of Innsbruck, Austria (1984)

Visiting Professor, University of California, Santa Barbara (1995), USA; Distinguished Visiting Professor (since 2006)

visiting professor, Columbia University, New York, USA (2000)

Visiting Professor, University of Tokyo, Japan (2000, 2004, 2009, 2010, 2011)

Fellow of the American Physical Society (since 1992)

Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) Senior Fellowship, Japan (2000)

Member of the Bavarian Academy for Sciences (since 2007)

Member of the German Academy of Engineering Sciences (acatech) (since 2009)

Japan Society of Applied Physics International Fellow (since 2014)

Sub-project leader in various DFG, BMBF and EU research associations

Sub-project leader in the SFB 128 “Elementare Anregungen an Oberflächen” (1980-1987)

Initiation and development of the Walter Schottky Institute (1985-1988)

Sub-project leader and spokesperson for the SFB 348 “Nanometer Halbleiter Bauelemente” (1991-2003)

Sub-project leader and spokesperson for the SFB 563 “Bioorganische Funktionssysteme auf Festkörpern” (2000-2007)

Initiation and development of the Centre for Nanotechnology and Nanomaterials (2008-2010)

International Postgraduate Student School Spokesperson “Complex Interfaces” (2005-2011)

Carl von Linde Senior Fellow und Leader of the Focus Group “Nanophotonics” at the TUM Institute for Advanced Study(2008-2013)

Sub-project leader in the SFB 631 “Festkörperbasierte Quanteninformation” (2003-2015)

Co-spokesperson and member of the excellence cluster “Nanosystems Initiative Munich” (since 2006)



  • Walter-Schottky-Prize by the German Physics Association (1986)
  • Gottfried-Wilhelm-Leibniz-Prize by the German Research Foundation (1987)
  • Max-Born-Prize by the German Physics Association and the British Institute of Physics (1998)
  • Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph von Schelling-Prize by the Bavarian Academy for Sciences (2006)
  • Walter-Schottky-Preis der Deutschen Physikalischen Gesellschaft (1986)
  • Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Medal from TUM (2006) Stern-Gerlach-Prize by the German Physics Association (2014)

You can download "Explanations of honors and awards" here [PDF]