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Proceedings of the IEEE

Issue 1 • Date Jan. 1998

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Displaying Results 1 - 25 of 31
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  • Semiconductor Amplifier Patent

    Page(s): 34 - 36
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  • The Double-surface Transistor

    Page(s): 48 - 49
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  • The Genesis Of The Transistor

    Page(s): 50 - 52
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  • Detector For Electrical Disturbances Patent

    Page(s): 229 - 234
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  • Centennial of the semiconductor diode detector

    Page(s): 235 - 243
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    J.C. Bose, a physicist from India, developed a semiconductor receiver for the detection of millimeter waves (60 GHz) during 1894-1896. Interestingly, Bose's galena receiver, for which he received a patent (application filed September 30, 1901, issued March 29, 1904), is the forerunner of semiconductor diode detectors. This paper reviews the pioneering work of Bose in the area of millimeter waves and appraises the circumstances leading to the development and construction of such a device. View full abstract»

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  • The U.S. Army Signal Corps' “Dick Tracy” transistor wrist radio (1953)

    Page(s): 163 - 169
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    In 1953, the U.S. Army Signal Corps developed and built a miniaturized wristwatch transistor radio, which captured the fancy of the public. It was a precursor to the transistor radio industry that followed and the personal mobile telephony of today. One Friday, the chief signal officer ordered that we (the Signal Corps Engineering Laboratories) immediately design and develop such a miniaturized transistor radio. We did so by Monday. It was implemented that week and released. The press announced that Dick Tracy had come to life, as the receiver was named the “Dick Tracy”, from the comic strip. The radio used three transistors: one point-contact and two junction transistors. Its regenerative circuit provided remarkable sensitivity for excellent reception from stations 40 miles distant. This paper captures the setting and circumstances for development of the “Dick Tracy”, its circuit and implementation, its performance and experience, and its impact on the public and on industry, with vignettes surrounding all this View full abstract»

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  • The transistor: an invention becomes a big business

    Page(s): 86 - 110
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    Worldwide electronic equipment sales in 1996 were $851 billion, of which 16.5% or $140 billion were semiconductors. By the year 2000, estimates show that the semiconductor portion of equipment sales will grow to 21.1% or about $263 billion. This paper sets about to examine the birth and critical milestones of this phenomenal world-changing industry. Starting immediately after the Second World War, Bell Laboratories' management established a group to investigate semiconductors with a view to their application in telephone equipment. The group, headed by W. Shockley and including J. Bardeen and W. Brattain, was fully in place by January 1946. By December of the following year, Brattain and Bardeen had discovered the point-contact transistor. Early in the following year, Shockley established his theory of minority carrier injection and predicted the operation of the junction transistor. This paper outlines the growth of this business, starting initially among vacuum-tube manufacturers and spreading to high-growth-rate startups and on to major international companies. The importance of the U.S. military and space programs in the critical early days of both the transistor and the integrated circuit are touched on briefly. This paper gives careful attention to the birth and current state of the semiconductor scene of the Asian countries of Japan, Korea, and Taiwan. A review of the semiconductor industry in Europe, along with its decline and resurgence, is included. To complete the picture, the authors discuss the semiconductor industry decline and resurgence in the United States along with the contribution of SEMATECH and the importance of the personal computer to the U.S. recovery. This paper has two key appendixes. One focuses on the role of memory products as the industry enters the next century and the other complements the first by addressing the advent of system application-specific integrated circuits and the need for “continuous innovation” to meet the needs of each new product generation. These appendixes show the continuation of the semiconductor industry's traditional role in all electronic products namely, that of providing improved features, performance, and functionality with ever lower costs and higher quality View full abstract»

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  • Two communications revolutions

    Page(s): 170 - 175
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    Two communications revolutions, separated by almost exactly 500 years, displayed marked similarities in the first 50 years after their introduction. The first, in about 1450, was Gutenberg's invention of movable type, which led to the widespread dissemination of printed books. The second, in the 1950's, was the transistor which led to rapid new means of communication between individuals. Both were initially based on previous technologies for their applications, the first on illustrated manuscripts and the second on vacuum tubes, but both soon developed their own character based on unique features. Both spread from their countries of origin to competing foreign production, both had periods of boom and then production overcapacity in their first decades, and both gradually changed in their first 50 years from the initial use as methods of storing and retrieving information to new means of widespread communication. Both saw threats of government control and censorship as their use became widespread. Both changed the world View full abstract»

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  • The naming of the transistor

    Page(s): 37 - 45
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    The author devised the name “transistor” in may 1948 when W. Brattain asked him for a suitable name. The early transistor was the dual of a vacuum tube and as such would have transresistance; this suggested the name. Some historical aspects concerning the development of the transistor are discussed View full abstract»

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  • Under the glare of a thousand suns-the pioneering works of Sir J.C. Bose

    Page(s): 218 - 224
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    The origin of solid-state diode detectors of wireless waves has been traced to Sir J.C. Bose's pioneering millimeter-wave propagation experiments with certain polarizing crystals during 1896-1898. His seminal paper published in the January 1897 issue of the Proceedings of the Royal Society is reproduced in this issue to commemorate the one hundredth anniversary of the invention of the solid-state diode detector. The world's first patent on the solid-state diode detector invented by Bose and taken out in the United States, is also reproduced in full in this issue. Bose's further pioneering work with diode detectors, then known as “self-restoring coherers”, is discussed in particular his invention of the “iron-mercury-iron contact with a telephone” detector that received the first transatlantic wireless signal of Marconi on December 12, 1901 View full abstract»

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  • W=Shockley, the transistor pioneer-portrait of an inventive genius

    Page(s): 191 - 217
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    A author looks at W=Shockley's (as was his trademark signature) patents to capture a glimpse of his creative mind. A list of 90 of Shockley's patents has been assembled, including those for the electron multiplier tube (with J. R. Pierce) in 1941, the Shockley diode, and the junction transistor, filed in June 1948 and granted in September 1951 by the US Patent Office View full abstract»

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  • Sir J.C. Bose diode detector received Marconi's first transatlantic wireless signal of December 1901 (the “Italian Navy Coherer” Scandal Revisited)

    Page(s): 259 - 285
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    The true origin of the “mercury coherer with a telephone” receiver that was used by G. Marconi to receive the first transatlantic wireless signal on December 12, 1901, has been investigated and determined. Incontrovertible evidence is presented to show that this novel wireless detection device was invented by Sir J.C. Bose of Presidency College, Calcutta, India. His epoch making work was communicated by Lord Rayleigh, F.R.S., to the Royal Society London, U.K., on March 6, 1899, and read at the Royal Society Meeting of Great Britain on April 27, 1899. Soon after, it was published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society. Twenty-one months after that disclosure (in February 1901, as the records indicate), Lieutenant L. Solari of the Royal Italian Navy, a childhood friend of G. Marconi's, experimented with this detector device and presented a trivially modified version to Marconi, who then applied for a British patent on the device. Surrounded by a scandal, this detection device, actually a semiconductor diode, is known to the outside world as the “Italian Navy Coherer”. This scandal, first brought to light by Prof. A. Banti of Italy, has been critically analyzed and expertly presented in a time sequence of events by British historian V.J. Phillips but without discovering the true origin of the novel detector. In this paper, the scandal is revisited and the mystery of the device's true origin is solved, thus correcting the century-old misinformation on an epoch-making chapter in the history of semiconductor devices View full abstract»

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  • In the beginning [junction transistor]

    Page(s): 63 - 77
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    The junction transistor, technologically the most important solid-state device, invented theoretically by W.B. Shockley on January 23, 1948, brought about the semiconductor revolution. That invention was triggered by the experimental discovery of the point-contact transistor by W. Brattain and J. Bardeen 38 days earlier. Bardeen's notebook entries at Bell Telephone Laboratories for the crucial 100-day period November 21, 1947-February 29, 1948 have been examined to ascertain why this winner of two Nobel Prizes in physics could not invent the junction transistor. It was found that the boundary between the thin p-type inversion layer and the n-type bulk germanium semiconductor in their original point-contact transistor discovery was characterized as a “high resistance boundary” in macroscopic electrical engineering terms by Bardeen, the electrical engineer turned mathematical physicist. Pages from Shockley's notebook are reproduced in full to show what exactly he was thinking on December 16, 1947, the day the point-contact transistor was experimentally discovered by Brattain and Bardeen. The origin of U.S. Patent 2524035 has been traced to the Bell Telephone Laboratories notebook pages of its inventors and examined. It is shown that this patent could not be considered as the first patent describing Shockley's revolutionary theoretical invention of the minority carrier injection concept underlying bipolar transistor action View full abstract»

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  • Transistor equivalent circuits

    Page(s): 150 - 162
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    This paper surveys the history of the electric-circuit representation of the transistor over the past fifty years. During the first two decades after the transistor was announced in 1948, primary emphasis was on small-signal equivalent circuits, which could be used for linear-circuit analysis and design. In addition, parameters of many of these equivalent circuits for the bipolar junction transistor, which are described, were related to the physical construction of the device. Approximately two-thirds of the paper is devoted to this period, when the writer personally contributed to this effort. By the beginning of the third decade, transistor circuits had became more complex, and circuit analysis was carried out with the help of digital computers. Interest then shifted away from small-signal equivalent circuits to “models” for computer-aided circuit design (CACD). This transition, including the models used in the widely used CACD program SPICE, is described. MOS transistors are treated only briefly; by the time MOS transistors became commercially viable devices, emphasis then also had shifted to “models” for CACD. In conclusion, the writer notes that there is still hope for us aficionados of small-signal equivalent circuits; new types of transistors are still being characterized in this manner View full abstract»

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  • The invention of the transistor

    Page(s): 7 - 28
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    The invention of the transistor almost 50 years ago was one of the most important technical developments of this century. It has had profound impact on the way we live and the way we work. The first part of this paper covers the events that led to the discovery of the transistor effect and the invention of the point contact transistor in December of 1947. It continues with the development of the theory of the junction transistor in early 1948 and the fabrication of the first grown junction transistor in 1950. It is fair to say that this event completed the invention of the transistor and developed a fundamental understanding of how it worked. The second part of the paper describes the major hurdles that had to be overcome and the major breakthroughs that had to be made to turn an exciting invention into a far reaching technical innovation. This phase took approximately another 10 years. By that time, high performance, high reliability transistors could be manufactured in large quantity and at low cost. Importantly the foundation had been laid for the invention of the integrated circuit and the dramatic development of the microelectronics industry. The final part of the paper suggests some of the reasons why such an important technological innovation could occur in a relatively short period of time and be such an unqualified success. Finally, there are some comments on how much further this technology can go and when its rapid progress may come to an end View full abstract»

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H. Joel Trussell
North Carolina State University