Kurt Lehovec

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Kurt Lehovec
Kurt Lehovec.jpg
Born12 June 1918
Ledvice, Bohemia
Died17 February 2012 (2012-02-18) (aged 93)
California, USA

Kurt Lehovec (June 12, 1918 – February 17, 2012) was one of the pioneers of the integrated circuit. While also pioneering the photo-voltaic effect, light emmiting diodes and lithium batteries, He innovated the concept of p-n junction isolation used in every circuit element with a guard ring: a reverse-biased p-n junction surrounding the planar periphery of that element. This patent was assigned to Sprague Electric.[1][2]

Because Lehovec was under salary with Sprague, he was paid only one dollar for this invention.

Lehovec was born June 12, 1918 in Ledvice, in northern Bohemia, now part of the Czech Republic. He was educated there and went to the US in 1947 under the auspices of Operation Paperclip[3] which allowed scientists and engineers to emigrate. With Carl Accardo and Edward Jamgochian, he explained the first light-emitting diodes[4] citing previous work by Oleg Losev.

The important case of fast ionic conduction in solid states is one in a surface space-charge layer of ionic crystals. Such conduction was first predicted by K. Lehovec in the paper "Space-charge layer and distribution of lattice defects at the surface of ionic crystals" ( J. Chem. Phys. 1953. V.21. P.1123 -1128). As a space-charge layer has nanometer thickness, the effect is directly related to nanoionics (nanoionics-I). The Lehovec effect forms a basis for a creation of multitude nanostructured fast ion conductors as used in modern portable lithium batteries and fuel cells.

Lehovec was a Professor Emeritus at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, California, and after retirement from USC Lehovec took to writing poetry.[5] He lived in Southern California until his death in 2012 at the age of 93.[6]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Kurt Lehovec, U.S. Patent 3,029,366 awarded on April 10, 1962, filed April 22, 1959.
  2. ^ Robert Noyce credits Lehovec in his article – "Microelectronics", Scientific American, September 1977, Volume 23, Number 3, pp. 63–9.
  3. ^ Kurt Lehovec's Professional Career[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ K. Lehovec, C. A. Accardo, AND E. Jamgochian, "Injected Light Emission of Silicon Carbide Crystals". Archived 2013-10-06 at the Wayback Machine, The Physical Review 83, #3, 603-607 August 1, 1951
  5. ^ Some of Lehovec's poetry publications
  6. ^ "Obituaries: Donald Payne, Kurt Lehovec", Los Angeles Times, retrieved 18 July 2014

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