The remarkable transistor observes its 10th birthday (Jun, 1958)

The remarkable transistor observes its 10th birthday

In 1948, Bell Telephone Laboratories announced the invention of the transistor. In 1958, the transistor provided the radio voice for the first United States satellite.

To advance the transistor to its high level of usefulness, Bell Labs solved problems which, in themselves, approached the invention of the transistor itself in scientific achievement.

First, there had to be germanium of flawless structure and unprecedented purity. This was obtained by growing large single crystals —and creating the “zone refining” technique which reduces impurities to one part in ten billion.

The junction transistor, another radical advance, spurred transistor use. Easier to design, lower in noise, higher in gain and efficiency, it became the heart of the new electronics.

An ingenious technique for diffusing a microscopically thin layer on semiconductors was created. The resulting “diffused base” transistor, a versatile broadband amplifier, made possible the wide use of transistorized circuits in telephony, FM, television, computers and missiles.

In telephony the transistor began its career in the Direct Distance Dialing system which sends called telephone numbers from one exchange to another. For Bell System communications, the transistor has made possible advances which would have been impossible or impractical a brief decade ago.

BELL TELEPHONE LABORATORIES

WORLD CENTER OF COMMUNICATIONS RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

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