Alexander Savchenko
1951 - 2010

Alexander Savchenko

Professor Alexander Savchenko was born on 15 July 1951 in a sovhoz (state agricultural co-operative) named after Stalin in the Tambov district, where his father, Konstantin Savchenko, was the director.


In 1958 he started school in Maslovski sovhoz and then later attended school No. 58 in Voronezh, which specialised in mathematics and physics. He graduated from this school with a Gold Medal in 1968 and went to read Physical and Quantum Electronics at MFTI ("FizTech") in Moscow where he was awarded a First Class MSc degree in 1974. On graduating, he joined Department of Microelectronics at IREE of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow. In 1979 he was awarded a PhD and became senior research fellow and Head of an experimental research group at the same Institute. In 1990 he was awarded a degree of Doctor of Science and promoted to Leading Research Fellow. His research in interference and interaction effects in semiconductors and metals, and especially in a new, emerging field of 'incoherent mesoscopics' in semiconductors in the hopping regime brought him an early international recognition.


In 1991 Alex joined Michael Pepper's group at the University of Cambridge as a SERC Visiting Fellow. A year later, in 1992, he moved to Physics Department at the University of Exeter, first as a lecturer and soon Reader. He was inaugurated as Professor of Condensed Matter Physics at the same university in 2003. After moving to Exeter, Alex Savchenko built up and developed a Quantum Transport Group, supported by extensive funding from the UK Research councils, charity trusts and European bodies. He performed extensive studies of noise in metal and semiconductors; carried out comprehensive investigations of interaction effects in two-dimensional electronic structures, including the regime of an apparent metal-insulator transition; discovered "giant" mesoscopic fluctuations in the Coulomb-drag semiconductor systems. Since 2006, Professor Savchenko's group has focused on experimental studies of quantum transport in graphene, having been the first to show the extreme sensitivity of weak localisation effects in mono- and bi-layers to the nature of scattering and to investigate mesoscopic fluctuations. They have also developed the technology of 'air-bridge' top gate fabrication, created graphene p-n-p and n-p-n junctions and observed unusual transmission of chiral carriers through graphene p-n junctions.


In October 2009 Professor Savchenko won a multimillion-pound grant "Graphene: Fundamental Research and Applications in Nano-Electronics, Photonics and Biosciences" for creating and developing a Graphene Centre at the University of Exeter. Very sadly, he died unexpectedly just half a year later, on 27 June 2010 in St. Petersburg, during the previous NanoPeter conference. The Graphene Centre has been named after him in recognition of his contribution to developing first class science in Exeter and indeed at other Universities across the world.


Alex Savchenko was an outstanding physicist who was never afraid to face most fundamental and difficult questions and was passionate in their experimental exploration. He was also a highly devoted mentor for his students. On a personal level, Alex was remarkably charming and friendly, with a truly unique sense of humour.

Alex Savchenko authored more than 100 scientific papers which represent a broad spectrum of experimental research in physics of low-dimensional electronic systems. We list below some of his most important papers (with citation indices according to ISI Web of Science as of March 2012).

  1. Coherent nonlinear optical response of graphene,
    E. Hendry, P. J. Hale, J. Moger, A. K. Savchenko, and S. A. Mikhailov,
    Phys. Rev. Lett. 105, 097401 (2010). (Times cited: 17)
  2. Electron properties of fluorinated single-layer graphene transistors,
    F. Withers, M. Dubois, A.K. Savchenko,
    Phys. Rev. B 82, 073403 (2010). (Times cited: 32)
  3. Transition between electron localization and antilocalization in graphene,
    F.V. Tikhonenko, A.A. Kozikov, A. K. Savchenko, et al,
    Phys. Rev. Lett. 103, 226801 (2009). (Times cited: 39)
  4. Conductance of p-n-p structures with "Air-Bridge" top gates,
    R.V.Gorbachev, A.S. Mayorov, A. K. Savchenko, et al,
    Nano Lett. 8, 1995 (2009). (Times cited: 57)
  5. Weak localization in graphene flakes,
    F.V. Tikhonenko, D.W. Horsell, A. K. Savchenko, et al,
    Phys. Rev. Lett. 100, 056802 (2008). (Times cited: 103)
  6. Weak localization in bilayer graphene,
    R.V.Gorbachev, F.V. Tikhonenko, A. K. Savchenko, et al,
    Phys. Rev. Lett. 98, 056802 (2007). (Times cited: 68)
  7. Magnetoresistance of 2D electron gas caused by electron interactions in the transition from the diffusive to the ballistic regime,
    L.Li, Y.Y. Proskuryakov, A. K. Savchenko, E.H. Linfield, D.A. Ritchie,
    Phys. Rev. Lett. 90, 076802 (2003). (Times cited: 32)
  8. Enhanced shot noise in resonant tunneling via interacting localized states,
    S.S. Safonov, A. K. Savchenko, D.A. Bagrets et al,
    Phys. Rev. Lett. 91, 136801 (2002). (Times cited: 62)
  9. Hole-hole interaction effect in the conductance of the two-dimensional hole gas in the ballistic regime,
    Y.Y. Proskuryakov, A. K. Savchenko, M. Pepper et al,
    Phys. Rev. Lett. 89, 076406 (2002). (Times cited: 69)
  10. Metal-insulator transition at B=0 in a dilute two dimensional GaAs – AlGaAs hole gas,
    M.Y. Simmons, A.R. Hamilton, M. Pepper, A. K. Savchenko, et al,
    Phys. Rev. Lett. 80, 1292 (1998). (Times cited: 203)
  11. Resonant tunneling through two impurities in disordered barriers,
    A.K. Savchenko, V.V. Kuznetsov, A. Woolfe, et al,
    Phys. Rev. B 52, 17021 (1995). (Times cited: 32)