John Bardeen and Walter Brattain invented the point-contact semiconductor amplifier (transistor action) in polycrystalline germanium (also observed in polycrystalline silicon) on Dec. 15, 1947, for which they received a patent on Oct. 3, 1950. Bill Shockley was not a co-patent holder on Bardeen and Brattain’s point-contact semiconductor amplifier patent since Julius Lilienfeld had already received a patent in 1930 for what would have been Shockley’s contribution; namely, the field-effect methodology. Shockley received patents for both his minority-carrier injection concept and junction transistor theory, however, and deservedly shared the Nobel prize with Bardeen and Brattain for his seminal contributions of injection, p-n junction theory and junction transistor theory. We will review the events leading up to the invention of Bardeen and Brattain’s point-contact semiconductor amplifier during the magic month of November 17–December 16, 1947 and the invention of Shockley’s junction semiconductor amplifier during his magic month of December 24, 1947–January 23, 1948. It was during the course of Bardeen and Brattain’s research in November, 1947 that Bardeen also patented the essence of the MOS transistor, wherein the induced minority carriers were confined to the inversion layer enroute to the collector. C. T. Sah has described this device as a sourceless MOS transistor. Indeed, John Bardeen, co-inventor of the point-contact semiconductor amplifier and inventor of the MOS transistor, may rightly be called the father of modern electronics.
Skip Nav Destination
Howard R. Huff; John Bardeen and transistor physics. AIP Conf. Proc. 29 January 2001; 550 (1): 3–32. https://doi.org/10.1063/1.1354371
Download citation file: