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New semiconductors capable of competing with germanium and silicon in transistor applications must be looked for among the compound semiconductors, and more specifically among the III-V and IV-IV compounds. Gallium arsenide and indium phosphide are the most promising all-round materials for high-frequency as well as high-temperature performance. Indium antimonide and indium arsenide may be of interest for extremely high-frequency transistors operating at low temperatures The aluminum compounds, gallium phosphide and silicon carbide, are potentially useful for very high operating temperatures at the cost of high-frequency performance. Some of the unusual properties of the compound semiconductors have led to novel methods of junction preparation and new junction structures, such as the surface-diffusion and the widegap junction. Bipolar and unipolar surface-diffusion transistors have been demonstrated in indium phosphide, and the wide-gap emitter principle for high injection efficiency has been experimentally verified in gallium arsenide transistors. Electron lifetimes in these two compound semiconductors are estimated from the transistor results.