Herbert Kroemer began after graduating from the Friedrich- Schiller -Gymnasium in Weimar in 1947, studying physics at the University of Jena and visited, among other lectures of Friedrich Hund. When he was during the Berlin Airlift to an internship in Berlin, he took the opportunity to escape to the West and continued his studies at the Georg -August- University of Göttingen. He received his doctorate in 1952 with Richard Becker in the field of theoretical physics effects of hot electrons in transistors and then worked as an "applied theorist ," as he called it himself, in the FTZ the Federal Post Office, 1954, he went to the USA and worked at various research facilities in Princeton and Palo Alto. He taught from 1968 to 1976 as a professor of physics at the University of Colorado at Boulder and then moved to the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Herbert Kroemer never worked in areas that are "current" were straight, but preferred areas whose importance were evident until years later. So he published in the 1950s, work on the concept of a heterojunction bipolar transistors, the frequencies in the gigahertz range enables. In 1963 he developed the concept of double heterostructure lasers, the basic concept of semiconductor lasers. Both concepts were ahead of their time far and could only, after the development of epitaxy can be realized in the 1980s.
During his time in Santa Barbara shifted his main activities of the theory in the experimental area. He was involved in the late 1970s instrumental in the development of molecular beam epitaxy, where he created new combinations of materials such as gallium phosphide and gallium arsenide on silicon substrates and examined. After 1985, his interest shifted to the material combinations indium arsenide, gallium antimonide and aluminum antimonide.
He was honored in 2000 with Zhores Ivanovich Alferov with half of the Nobel Prize for Physics for developing semiconductor heterostructures used in high-speed and opto-electronics, the other half went to Jack Kilby for the development of integrated circuits.
- J. J. Ebers Award, IEEE, 1973
- Heinrich Welker Medal, International Symposium on GaAs and Related compounds, 1982
- National Lecturer, IEEE Electron Devices Society, 1983
- Jack Morton Award, IEEE, 1986
- Alexander von Humboldt Research Award, 1994
- Nobel Prize in Physics, 2000
- Honorary Doctor of Physics and Astronomy Faculty of the University of Jena, May 20, 2008
- The asteroid ( 24751 ) Kroemer was named after him.