Remembering Prof. Dr. Adolf Goetzberger

03/01/2023 - Fraunhofer IAF mourns the death of former institute director

Fraunhofer IAF mourns the passing of the outstanding scientist and pioneer of semiconductor as well as solar energy technology Prof. Dr. Adolf Goetzberger, who led the institute from 1968 to 1981. Adolf Goetzberger passed away on February 24, 2023 at the age of 94.

Portrait picture of Adolf Goetzberger
© Fraunhofer IAF
Portrait of Prof. Dr. Adolf Goetzberger, Director of Fraunhofer IAF from 1968 to 1981

The Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Solid State Physics IAF bids farewell to its former director Prof. Dr. Adolf Goetzberger (* November 29, 1928; † February 24, 2023). With Adolf Goetzberger goes an outstanding scientist and pioneer of semiconductor and solar energy technology. After receiving his doctorate in Munich in 1955, he went to the USA and worked during the pioneering era of microelectronics in Palo Alto and at Bell Laboratories, alongside Nobel Prize winner and co-inventor of the transistor William Shockley. In 1968, Adolf Goetzberger returned to Germany and directed Fraunhofer IAF for 13 years. During this time, he was responsible, among other things, for the invention and patenting of the fluorescence collector. In 1971, the Albert Ludwig University of Freiburg appointed him honorary professor in the Faculty of Physics. In 1981, he founded Fraunhofer ISE, which he directed until 1993.

Adolf Goetzberger has received many awards for his scientific achievements: In 1983, for example, he was the first German to receive the J. J. Ebers Award from the IEEE Electron Devices Society for his outstanding achievements in the development of the silicon field-effect transistor. In 1989, he was awarded the Medal of Merit of the State of Baden-Württemberg, and in 1992, the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany, first class. The European Patent Office awarded him the title “European Inventor of the Year” in 2009.

Further information

Press release of Fraunhofer ISE


Prof. Dr. Adolf Goetzberger, Founder of Fraunhofer ISE, has passed away.


In Memory of Prof. Dr. Adolf Goetzberger


Virtual Condolence Book of Fraunhofer ISE