Fairchild Semiconductor

Last updated
Fairchild Semiconductor
International, Inc.
Subsidiary of ON Semiconductor
Founded1 October 1957
1272 Borregas Ave, Sunnyvale, California
United States
Area served
Key people
  • Mark Thompson (Chairman & CEO) [1]
  • Mark S. Frey (Executive Vice President, CFO & Treasurer) [1]
Products Integrated circuits, Signal processors, Motor controllers, Field-effect transistors
RevenueDecrease2.svg US$ 1.370 billion (2015) [2]
Decrease2.svg US$ 6.30 million (2015) [2]
Decrease2.svg US$ -15.1 million (2015) [2]
Total assets Decrease2.svg US$ 1.58 billion (2015) [2]
Total equity Decrease2.svg US$ 1.10 billion (2015) [2]
Number of employees
Parent ON Semiconductor
Website www.fairchildsemi.com

Fairchild Semiconductor International, Inc. was an American semiconductor company based in San Jose, California. Founded in 1957 as a division of Fairchild Camera and Instrument, it became a pioneer in the manufacturing of transistors and of integrated circuits. Schlumberger bought the firm in 1979 and sold it to National Semiconductor in 1987; Fairchild was spun off as an independent company again in 1997. In September 2016, Fairchild was acquired by ON Semiconductor.

A semiconductor material has an electrical conductivity value falling between that of a conductor, such as metallic copper, and an insulator, such as glass. Its resistance decreases as its temperature increases, which is behaviour opposite to that of a metal. Its conducting properties may be altered in useful ways by the deliberate, controlled introduction of impurities ("doping") into the crystal structure. Where two differently-doped regions exist in the same crystal, a semiconductor junction is created. The behavior of charge carriers which include electrons, ions and electron holes at these junctions is the basis of diodes, transistors and all modern electronics. Some examples of semiconductors are silicon, germanium, gallium arsenide, and elements near the so-called "metalloid staircase" on the periodic table. After silicon, gallium arsenide is the second most common semiconductor and is used in laser diodes, solar cells, microwave-frequency integrated circuits and others. Silicon is a critical element for fabricating most electronic circuits.

San Jose, California City in California, United States

San Jose, officially the City of San José, is the economic, cultural and political center of Silicon Valley, and the largest city in Northern California. With an estimated 2017 population of 1,035,317, it is the third-most populous city in California and the tenth-most populous in United States. Located in the center of the Santa Clara Valley, on the southern shore of San Francisco Bay, San Jose covers an area of 179.97 square miles (466.1 km2). San Jose is the county seat of Santa Clara County, the most affluent county in California and one of the most affluent counties in the United States. San Jose is the main component of the San Jose–Sunnyvale–Santa Clara Metropolitan Statistical Area, with an estimated population of around 2 million residents in 2018. It is also the most populous city in both the San Francisco Bay Area and the San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland Combined Statistical Area, which contain 7.7 million and 8.7 million people respectively.

Fairchild Camera and Instrument Corporation was a company founded by Sherman Fairchild. It was based on the East Coast of the United States, and provided research and development for flash photography equipment. The technology was primarily used for DOD spy satellites. The firm was later known for its manufacture of semiconductors.


The company has locations in the United States at San Jose, California; South Portland, Maine; West Jordan, Utah; and Mountaintop, Pennsylvania. Outside the U.S. it operates locations in Singapore; Bucheon, South Korea; Penang, Malaysia; Suzhou, China; and Cebu, Philippines, among others.

United States Federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country comprising 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the most populous city is New York City. Most of the country is located contiguously in North America between Canada and Mexico.

South Portland, Maine City in Maine, United States

South Portland is a city in Cumberland County, Maine, United States, and is the fourth-largest city in the state, incorporated in 1898. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 25,002. Known for its working waterfront, South Portland is situated on Portland Harbor and overlooks the skyline of Portland and the islands of Casco Bay. Due to South Portland's close proximity to air, marine, rail, and highway transportation options, the city has become a center for retail and industry in the region.

West Jordan, Utah City in Utah, United States

West Jordan is a city in Salt Lake County, Utah, United States. It is a rapidly growing suburb of Salt Lake City and has a mixed economy. According to the 2010 Census, the city had a population of 103,712, placing it as the fourth most populous in the state. The city occupies the southwest end of the Salt Lake Valley at an elevation of 4,330 feet (1,320 m). Named after the nearby Jordan River, the limits of the city begin on the river's western bank and end in the eastern foothills of the Oquirrh Mountains, where Kennecott Copper Mine, the world's largest man-made excavation is located.

Company history


From left to right: Gordon Moore, C. Sheldon Roberts, Eugene Kleiner, Robert Noyce, Victor Grinich, Julius Blank, Jean Hoerni and Jay Last. (1960) The Traitorous Eight.jpg
From left to right: Gordon Moore, C. Sheldon Roberts, Eugene Kleiner, Robert Noyce, Victor Grinich, Julius Blank, Jean Hoerni and Jay Last. (1960)
The historic marker at the Fairchild building at which the traitorous eight set up shop and the first commercially practical integrated circuit was invented IC Plaque.jpg
The historic marker at the Fairchild building at which the traitorous eight set up shop and the first commercially practical integrated circuit was invented
The building at 844 East Charleston Road, Palo Alto, California, where the first commercially practical integrated circuit was invented Fairchild Bldg.jpg
The building at 844 East Charleston Road, Palo Alto, California, where the first commercially practical integrated circuit was invented

In 1956, William Shockley opened Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory as a division of Beckman Instruments in Mountain View, California; his plan was to develop a new type of "4-layer diode" that would work faster and have more uses than then-current transistors. At first he attempted to hire some of his former colleagues from Bell Labs, but none were willing to move to the West Coast or work with Shockley again at that time. Shockley then founded the core of the new company with what he considered the best and brightest graduates coming out of American engineering schools.

William Shockley American physicist and inventor

William Bradford Shockley Jr. was an American physicist and inventor. Shockley was the manager of a research group at Bell Labs that included John Bardeen and Walter Brattain. The three scientists were jointly awarded the 1956 Nobel Prize in Physics for "their researches on semiconductors and their discovery of the transistor effect".

Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory laboratory

Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory was a pioneering semiconductor developer founded by William Shockley as a division of Beckman Instruments, Inc., in 1956. It was the first high technology company in what came to be known as Silicon Valley to work on silicon-based semiconductor devices.

Mountain View, California City in California, United States

Mountain View is a city located in Santa Clara County, California, United States, named for its views of the Santa Cruz Mountains. From its origins as a stagecoach stop, it grew to a large suburb with a pedestrian-friendly downtown and a population of 74,066. The city borders Palo Alto and the San Francisco Bay to the north, Los Altos to the south, and Moffett Federal Airfield and Sunnyvale to the east.

While Shockley was effective as a recruiter, he was less effective as a manager. A core group of Shockley employees, later known as the traitorous eight, became unhappy with his management of the company. The eight men were Julius Blank, Victor Grinich, Jean Hoerni, Eugene Kleiner, Jay Last, Gordon Moore, Robert Noyce, and Sheldon Roberts. Looking for funding on their own project, they turned to Sherman Fairchild's Fairchild Camera and Instrument, an Eastern U.S. company with considerable military contracts. [3] In 1957 the Fairchild Semiconductor division was started with plans to make silicon transistors at a time when germanium was still the most common material for semiconductor use.

Traitorous eight Group of PHDs employed at Shockley Semiconductor that left to form Fairchild Semiconductor.

The traitorous eight was a group of eight employees who left Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory in 1957 to found Fairchild Semiconductor. William Shockley had in 1956 recruited a group of young PhD graduates with the goal to develop and produce new semiconductor devices. While Shockley had received a Nobel Prize in Physics and was an experienced researcher and teacher, his management of the group was authoritarian and unpopular. This was accentuated by the fact that Shockley's research focus wasn’t proving fruitful. After the demand for Shockley to be replaced was rebuffed, the eight left to form their own company.

Julius Blank was a semiconductor pioneer. A member of the so-called traitorous eight, he left Nobel-winning physicist William Shockley's company to form Fairchild Semiconductor.

Victor Grinich American businessman

Victor Henry Grinich was a pioneer in the semiconductor industry and a member of the "traitorous eight" that founded Silicon Valley.

According to Sherman Fairchild, Noyce's impassioned presentation of his vision was the reason Sherman Fairchild had agreed to create the semiconductor division for the traitorous eight. Noyce advocated the use of silicon as substrate – since the material costs would consist of sand and a few fine wires, the major cost would be in the manufacturing process. Noyce also expressed his belief that silicon semiconductors would herald the start of disposable appliances that, due to cheap electronic components, would not be repaired but merely discarded when worn out. [4]

Their first transistors were of the silicon mesa variety, innovative for their time, but relatively poor reliability.

Fairchild's first marketed transistor was the 1958 2N697, a mesa transistor developed by Moore, [5] and it was a huge success. The first batch of 100 was sold to IBM for $150 a piece in order to build the computer for the B-70 bomber. More were sold to Autonetics to build the guidance system for the Minuteman ballistic missile. [6]

At the same time Jean Hoerni developed the planar process which was a huge improvement – transistors could be made more easily, at a lower cost and with higher performance and reliability.

The planar process made most other transistor processes obsolete. One such casualty was Philco's transistor division, whose newly built $40 million plant to make their germanium PADT process transistors became unviable. Within a few years every other transistor company paralleled or licensed the Fairchild planar process. Hoerni's 2N1613 was a major success, with Fairchild licensing the design across the industry.

In 1960 Fairchild built a circuit with four transistors on a single wafer of silicon, thereby creating the first silicon integrated circuit (Texas Instruments' Jack Kilby had developed an integrated circuit made of germanium on September 12, 1958, and was awarded a U.S. patent). The company grew from twelve to twelve thousand employees, and was soon making $130 million a year.


Fairchild's Noyce and Texas Instrument's Kilby had independently invented the integrated circuit (IC) based on bipolar technology. In 1960, Noyce invented the planar integrated circuit. The industry preferred Fairchild's invention over Texas Instruments' because the transistors in planar ICs were interconnected by a thin film deposit, whereas Texas Instruments' invention required fine wires to connect the individual circuits. Noyce's invention was enabled by the planar process developed by Jean Hoerni. [7] In turn, Hoerni's planar process was inspired by the surface passivation method developed by Mohamed Atalla at Bell Labs in 1957. [8]

In the early 1960s, Fairchild R&D began experimenting with the MOSFET (metal–oxide–semiconductor field-effect transistor), also known as the MOS transistor. The first MOSFET was invented by Mohamed Atalla and Dawon Kahng at Bell Labs in 1959, and demonstrated in early 1960, [9] but was initially overlooked and ignored by Bell Labs. [10] However, the MOSFET generated significant interest at Fairchild. Inspired by the first MOSFET demonstration by Atalla and Kahng in early 1960, Chih-Tang Sah built an MOS-controlled tetrode at Fairchild later that year. MOS devices were later commercialized by Fairchild in 1964, with p-channel devices for logic and switching applications. [9] The experiments led to Fairchild's development of MOS integrated circuits. [11]

In 1963, Fairchild hired Robert Widlar to design analog operational amplifiers using Fairchild's process. Since Fairchild's processes were optimized for digital circuits, Widlar collaborated with process engineer Dave Talbert. The collaboration resulted in two revolutionary products – µA702 and µA709. [12]

Hence, Fairchild dominated the analog integrated circuit market, having introduced the first IC operational amplifiers, or "op-amps", Bob Widlar's µA702 (in 1964) and µA709. In 1968, Fairchild introduced David Fullagar's µA741, which became the most popular IC op amp of all time. [13]

By 1965 Fairchild's process improvements had brought low-cost manufacturing to the semiconductor industry – making Fairchild nearly the only profitable semiconductor manufacturer in the United States. Fairchild dominated the market in DTL, op-amps and mainframe computer custom circuits.

In 1965, Fairchild opened a semiconductor assembly plant on the Navajo Nation in Shiprock, New Mexico. [14] At its peak, the plant employed over a thousand Navajos, the majority of whom were women. In The Shiprock Dedication Commemorative Brochure released by the Fairchild company, the Diné (Navajo) women circuit makers were celebrated as "culture workers who produced circuits as part of the 'reproductive' labor of expressing Navajo culture, rather than merely for wages." This claim was based on the opinion that circuits of the electronic chips had a mere resemblance with the complex geometric patterns on the Navajo rugs. Paul Driscoll, the Shiprock plant manager, spoke of the "untapped wealth of natural characteristics of the Navajo...the inherent flexibility and dexterity of the Indians." Although highly successful during its operation, the plant was closed in 1975. [15] While the Fairchild corporation claims the Diné women were chosen to work in the Shiprock plant due to their "'nimble fingers'" as previously noted, the women of the Shiprock reservation were actually chosen as the workforce due to a lack of labor rights asserted by the women in addition to "cheap, plentiful workers and tax benefits". [16]

Fairchild had not done well in the digital integrated circuit market. Their first line of ICs was the "micrologic" resistor–transistor logic (RTL) line which was used in the Apollo Guidance Computer. It had the advantage of being extremely simple – each inverter consisted of just one transistor and two resistors. The logic family had many drawbacks that had made it marginal for commercial purposes, and not well suited for military applications: the logic could only tolerate about 100 millivolts of noise  – far too low for comfort. It was awhile before Fairchild relied on more robust designs, such as diode–transistor logic (DTL) which had much better noise margins.

Sales due to Fairchild semiconductor division had doubled each year and by the mid-1960s comprised two-thirds of total sales of the parent company. In 1966, Fairchild's sales were second to those of Texas Instruments, followed in third place by Motorola. Noyce was rewarded with the position of corporate vice-president and hence became the de facto head of the semiconductor division.

However, internal trouble at Fairchild began to surface with a drop in earnings in 1967. There was increasing competition from newer start-ups. The semiconductor division, situated in Mountain View and Palo Alto, California, was actually managed by executives from Syosset, New York, who visited the California sites once a year, even though the semiconductor division earned most of the profits of the company. Fairchild's president at that time, John Carter, had used all the profits to fund acquisitions of unprofitable ventures.

Noyce's position on Fairchild's executive staff was consistently compromised by Sherman Fairchild's faction. Charles E. Sporck was Noyce's operations manager. Sporck was reputed to run the tightest operation in the world. Sporck, Pierre Lamond and most managers had grown upset and disillusioned with corporate focus on unprofitable ventures at the expense of the semiconductor division. Executives at the semiconductor division were allotted substantially fewer stock options compared to other divisions. In March 1967, Sporck was hired away by Peter J. Sprague to National Semiconductor. Sporck brought with him four other Fairchild personnel. [17] Actually, Lamond had previously assembled a team of Fairchild managers in preparation to defect to Plessey, a British company. Lamond had recruited Sporck to be his own boss. When negotiations with Plessey broke down over stock options, Lamond and Sporck succumbed to Widlar's and Talbert's (who were already employed at National Semiconductor) suggestion that they look to National Semiconductor. [18] Widlar and Talbert had earlier left Fairchild to join Molectro, which was later acquired by National Semiconductor. [19]

In the fall of 1967, Fairchild suffered a loss for the first time since 1958 and announced write-offs of $4 million due to excess capacity, which contributed to a total loss of $7.6 million. Profits had sunk to $0.50 a share, compared to $3 a share the previous year, while the value of the stock dropped in half. In October 1967, the board ordered Carter to sell off all of Fairchild's unprofitable ventures. Carter responded to the order by resigning abruptly.

Furthermore, Fairchild's DTL technology was being overtaken by Texas Instruments's faster TTL (transistor–transistor logic).

While Noyce was considered the natural successor to Carter, the board decided not to promote him. Sherman Fairchild led the board to choose Richard Hodgson. Within a few months Hodgson was replaced by a management committee led by Noyce, while Sherman Fairchild looked for a new CEO other than Noyce. In response, Noyce discreetly planned a new company with Gordon Moore, the head of R&D. They left Fairchild to found Intel in 1968 and were soon joined by Andrew Grove and Leslie L. Vadász, who took with them the revolutionary MOS Silicon Gate Technology (SGT), recently created in the Fairchild R&D Laboratory by Federico Faggin who also designed the Fairchild 3708, the world’s first commercial MOS integrated circuit using SGT. Fairchild MOS Division was slow in understanding the potential of the SGT which promised not only faster, more reliable, and denser circuits, but also new device types that could enlarge the field of solid state electronics – for example, CCDs for image sensors, dynamic RAMs, and non-volatile memory devices such as EPROM and flash memories. Intel took advantage of the SGT for its memory development. Federico Faggin, frustrated, left Fairchild to join Intel in 1970 and design the first microprocessors using SGT. Among the investors of Intel were Hodgson and five of the founding members of Fairchild.

Sherman Fairchild hired Lester Hogan, who was the head of Motorola semiconductor division. Hogan proceeded to hire another hundred managers from Motorola to entirely displace the management of Fairchild.

The loss of these iconic executives, coupled with Hogan's displacement of Fairchild managers demoralized Fairchild and prompted the entire exodus of employees to found new companies.

Many of the original founders, otherwise known as the "fairchildren", had left Fairchild in the 1960s to form companies that grew to prominence in the 1970s. Robert Noyce and Gordon Moore were among the last of the original founders to leave, at which point the brain-drain of talents that had fueled the growth of the company was complete.

A Fairchild advertisement of the time showed a collage of the logos of Silicon Valley with the annotation "We started it all". It was later, in 1971, Don Hoefler popularizated the name "Silicon Valley USA" in Electronic News . [20] . He notes he didn't invent the name. See also Gregory Gromov [21] and Tech Crunch 2014 update [22] of Hoefler's article. [20]


Hogan's action to hire from Motorola had Motorola file a lawsuit against Fairchild, which the court then decided in Fairchild's favor in 1973. Judge William Copple ruled that Fairchild's results were so unimpressive that it was impossible to assess damages "under any theory." Hogan was dismissed as president the next year, but remained as vice chairman. [23]

In 1973, Fairchild became the first company to produce a commercial charge-coupled device (CCD) following its invention at Bell Labs. Digital image sensors are still produced today at their descendant company, Fairchild Imaging. The CCD had a difficult birth, with the devastating effects on Fairchild of the 1973–75 recession that followed on the 1973 oil crisis. [24]

After Intel introduced the 8008 8-bit microprocessor, Fairchild developed the Fairchild F8 8-bit microprocessor, which was according to the CPU Museum "in 1977 the F8 was the world's leading microprocessor in terms of CPU sales." [25]

In 1976, the company released the first video game system to use ROM cartridges, the Fairchild Video Entertainment System (or VES) later renamed Channel F, using the F8 microprocessor. The system was successful initially, but quickly lost popularity when the Atari 2600 Video Computer System (or VCS) was released.

By the end of the 1970s they had few new products in the pipeline, and increasingly turned to niche markets with their existing product line, notably "hardened" integrated circuits for military and space applications and isoplanar ECL products used in exotic applications like Cray Computers. [26] Fairchild was being operated at a loss, and the bottomline subsisted mostly from licensing of its patents.

In 1979, Fairchild Camera and Instrument was purchased by Schlumberger Limited, an oil field services company, for $425 million. At this time, Fairchild's intellectual properties, on which Fairchild had been subsisting, were expiring.


In 1980, under Schlumberger management, the Fairchild Laboratory for Artificial Intelligence Research (FLAIR) was started within Fairchild Research. [27] In 1985 the lab was separated to form Schlumberger Palo Alto Research (SPAR).

Fairchild research developed the Clipper architecture, a 32-bit RISC-like computer architecture, in the 1980s, resulting in the shipping of the C100 chip in 1986. The technology was later sold to Intergraph, its main customer.

Schlumberger sold Fairchild to National Semiconductor in 1987 for $200 million. [28] The sale did not include Fairchild's Test Division, which designed and produced automated test equipment (ATE) for the semiconductor manufacturing industry, nor did it include Schlumberger Palo Alto Research.


In 1997, the reconstituted Fairchild Semiconductor was reborn as an independent company, based in South Portland, Maine with Kirk Pond as CEO.

On March 11, 1997, National Semiconductor Corporation announced the US$550 million sale of a reconstituted Fairchild to the management of Fairchild with the backing of Sterling LLC, a unit of Citicorp Venture Capital. Fairchild carried with it what was mostly the Standard Products group previously segregated by Gil Amelio.

The Fairchild Semiconductor Corporation announced November 27, 1997 that it would acquire the semiconductor division of the Raytheon Corporation for about $120 million in cash. The acquisition was completed on December 31, 1997. [29]

In December 1998, Fairchild announced the acquisition of Samsung's power division, which made power MOSFETs, IGBTs, etc. [30] The deal was finalized in April 1999 for $450 million. [31] To this day, Fairchild remains an important supplier for Samsung. [32]

In August 1999, Fairchild Semiconductor again became a publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange with the ticker symbol FCS. Fairchild's South Portland, Maine and Mountaintop, Pennsylvania locations are the longest continuously operating semiconductor manufacturing facilities in the world, both operating since 1960.[ citation needed ]


On March 19, 2001 Fairchild Semiconductor announced that it had completed the acquisition of Intersil Corporation's discrete power business for approximately $338 million in cash. The acquisition moved Fairchild to a position as the second largest power MOSFET supplier in the world, representing a 20 percent share of this $3 billion market that grew 40 percent last year.[ when? ]

On September 6, 2001 Fairchild Semiconductor announced the acquisition of Impala Linear Corporation, based in San Jose, CA for approximately $6 million in stock and cash. Impala brought with it expertise in designing analog power management semiconductors for hand-held devices like laptops, MP3 players, cell phones, portable test equipment and PDA's.

On January 9, 2004, Fairchild Semiconductor CEO Kirk Pond was appointed as a Director of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, elected by member banks to serve a three-year term. [33]

On April 13, 2005, Fairchild announced appointment of Mark Thompson as CEO of the corporation. Thompson would also be President, Chief Executive Officer and a member of the board of directors of Fairchild Semiconductor International. He originally joined Fairchild as Executive Vice President, Manufacturing and Technology Group. [34]

On March 15, 2006 Fairchild Semiconductor announced that Kirk P. Pond would retire as Chairman at the company's annual stockholders' meeting on May 3, 2006. Pond would continue as a member of the company’s board of directors. [35] Mark Thompson, then CEO, became Chairman.

On September 1, 2007, New Jersey-based RF semiconductor supplier Anadigics acquired Fairchild Semiconductor's RF design team, located in Tyngsboro, Massachusetts, for $2.4 million.


In April 2011, Fairchild Semiconductor acquired TranSiC, a silicon carbide power transistor company, originally based in Sweden.

On November 18, 2015 ON Semiconductor made an offer to acquire Fairchild Semiconductor for $2.4 billion, or $20 per share after a few months of speculation that Fairchild was seeking a potential buyer.

On April 10, 2016 Fairchild Semiconductor moved its headquarters from San Jose (3030 Orchard Pkwy) to Sunnyvale (1272 Borregas Ave.)

On September 19, 2016 ON Semiconductor and Fairchild Semiconductor jointly announced that ON Semiconductor has completed its announced $2.4 billion cash acquisition of Fairchild.

In the fall of 2016 the Fairchild 'ON' Semiconductor International closed the West Jordan, Utah manufacturing plant. [36]


See also

Related Research Articles

Integrated circuit electronic circuit manufactured by lithography; set of electronic circuits on one small flat piece (or "chip") of semiconductor material, normally silicon

An integrated circuit or monolithic integrated circuit is a set of electronic circuits on one small flat piece of semiconductor material that is normally silicon. The integration of large numbers of tiny transistors into a small chip results in circuits that are orders of magnitude smaller, faster, and less expensive than those constructed of discrete electronic components. The IC's mass production capability, reliability, and building-block approach to circuit design has ensured the rapid adoption of standardized ICs in place of designs using discrete transistors. ICs are now used in virtually all electronic equipment and have revolutionized the world of electronics. Computers, mobile phones, and other digital home appliances are now inextricable parts of the structure of modern societies, made possible by the small size and low cost of ICs.

Robert Noyce American businessman and engineer

Robert Norton Noyce, nicknamed "the Mayor of Silicon Valley," was an American physicist who co-founded Fairchild Semiconductor in 1957 and Intel Corporation in 1968. He is also credited with the realization of the first monolithic integrated circuit or microchip, which fueled the personal computer revolution and gave Silicon Valley its name.

Transistor Basic electronics component

A transistor is a semiconductor device used to amplify or switch electronic signals and electrical power. It is composed of semiconductor material usually with at least three terminals for connection to an external circuit. A voltage or current applied to one pair of the transistor's terminals controls the current through another pair of terminals. Because the controlled (output) power can be higher than the controlling (input) power, a transistor can amplify a signal. Today, some transistors are packaged individually, but many more are found embedded in integrated circuits.

MOSFET Transistor used for amplifying or switching electronic signals

The metal–oxide–semiconductor field-effect transistor, also known as the metal–oxide–silicon transistor, is a type of field-effect transistor (FET) that is fabricated by the controlled oxidation of a semiconductor, typically silicon. It has an insulated gate, whose voltage determines the conductivity of the device. This ability to change conductivity with the amount of applied voltage can be used for amplifying or switching electronic signals. The MOSFET is the basic element in most modern electronic equipment. Since its invention by Mohamed Atalla and Dawon Kahng at Bell Labs in November 1959, the MOSFET has become the most widely manufactured device in history, with an estimated total of 13 sextillion MOS transistors manufactured as of 2018.

CMOS Technology for constructing integrated circuits

Complementary metal–oxide–semiconductor (CMOS) is a type of MOSFET semiconductor device fabrication process. CMOS technology is used for constructing integrated circuits (ICs), including microprocessors, microcontrollers, memory chips, and other digital logic circuits. CMOS technology is also used for several analog circuits such as image sensors, data converters, and highly integrated transceivers for many types of communication. CMOS was invented by Chih-Tang Sah and Frank Wanlass at Fairchild Semiconductor in 1963, and was an adaptation of the PMOS and NMOS processes originally developed by MOSFET inventors Mohamed Atalla and Dawon Kahng in 1960. CMOS became the dominant MOSFET fabrication process for VLSI devices since it overtook NMOS in the 1980s.

The Information Age is a historic period in the 21st century characterized by the rapid shift from traditional industry that the Industrial Revolution brought through industrialization, to an economy based on information technology. The onset of the Information Age can be associated with the invention of the transistor, particularly the MOSFET, which revolutionized modern technology and became the fundamental building block of digital electronics in the information age.

National Semiconductor was an American semiconductor manufacturer which specialized in analog devices and subsystems, formerly with headquarters in Santa Clara, California, United States. The company produced power management integrated circuits, display drivers, audio and operational amplifiers, communication interface products and data conversion solutions. National's key markets included wireless handsets, displays and a variety of broad electronics markets, including medical, automotive, industrial and test and measurement applications.

Jean Amédée Hoerni was a Swiss-American engineer. He was a silicon transistor pioneer, and a member of the "traitorous eight". He developed the groundbreaking planar process for reliably manufacturing semiconductor devices such as transistors and integrated circuits.

Jay T. Last is a physicist, silicon pioneer, and member of the so-called "traitorous eight" that founded Silicon Valley.

Planar process

The planar process is a manufacturing process used in the semiconductor industry to build individual components of a transistor, and in turn, connect those transistors together. It is the primary process by which modern integrated circuits are built. The planar process was developed by Jean Hoerni in 1959, building on the silicon surface passivation method developed by Mohamed Atalla in 1957. Hoerni's planar process was the basis for Robert Noyce's invention of the monolithic integrated circuit in 1959.

Bob Widlar American electrical engineer

Robert John Widlar was an American electronics engineer and a designer of linear integrated circuits (ICs).

Electronics industry global industry

The electronics industry, especially meaning consumer electronics, emerged in the 20th century and has now become a global industry worth billions of dollars. Contemporary society uses all manner of electronic devices built in automated or semi-automated factories operated by the industry. Products are assembled from integrated circuits, principally by photolithography of printed circuit boards.

John Haslett Hall was a pioneer in the development of low power CMOS integrated circuits. Hall was a pioneering semiconductor process and device design expert. He founded or co-founded multiple innovative Silicon Valley companies, including Intersil, MicroPower Systems, Linear Integrated Systems, Inc., and Integrated Wave Technologies, Inc.

A diffusion transistor is a bipolar junction transistor (BJT) formed by diffusing dopants into a semiconductor substrate. The diffusion process was developed later than the alloy junction and grown junction processes for making BJTs.

A transistor is a semiconductor device with at least three terminals for connection to an electric circuit. The vacuum-tube triode, also called a (thermionic) valve, was the transistor's precursor, introduced in 1907.

The idea of integrating electronic circuits into a single device was born when the German physicist and engineer Werner Jacobi developed and patented the first known integrated transistor amplifier in 1949 and the British radio engineer Geoffrey Dummer proposed to integrate a variety of standard electronic components in a monolithic semiconductor crystal in 1952. A year later, Harwick Johnson filed a patent for a prototype integrated circuit (IC).

Mohamed Atalla mechanical engineer

Mohamed Atalla, also known by the alias Martin "John" M. Atalla, was an Egyptian-American engineer, inventor and entrepreneur in the fields of electrical semiconductor technology and data security. He invented the MOSFET, also known as the MOS transistor, with Dawon Kahng in 1959, as well as both the PMOS and NMOS processes for MOSFET semiconductor device fabrication in 1960. The MOSFET revolutionized the electronics industry, and is the most widely manufactured device in history. The US Patent and Trademark Office calls the MOSFET a "groundbreaking invention that transformed life and culture around the world".

Bernard A Yurash was a significant contributor to the creation of the first commercially viable CMOS integrated circuits by finding the sources of mobile sodium ions coming from the manufacturing process. Today, virtually all digital electronics use CMOS circuitry. Bernard worked at Fairchild Semiconductor in Silicon Valley from 1958, through the buyouts of the company by Schlumberger and National Semiconductor, and finally retiring in 1990. In the 1960s Fairchild Semiconductor, a division of Fairchild Camera and Instrument Corp., and Texas Instruments, revolutionized electronics by employing the first integrated circuit technology. Fairchild's Robert Noyce filed for this patent using deposited (printed) metal lines and Jean Hoerni's Planar Process. At the time virtually all the devices were of the bipolar type which were used to construct RTL and DTL type circuits, which unfortunately drew more power than was desired, and eventually lost ground to Texas Instruments' TTL (Transistor-Transistor-logic). The next great technological leap in computer chips would be CMOS transistors, which promised significantly lower power and greater circuit density than the Bipolar circuitry. Although Frank Wanlass first filed for the CMOS patent in 1963, Fairchild could not produce the devices for commercial output for many years because of the mystery of the mobile ions degrading their performance. Much research time and money was expended in 1967 and 1968 at Fairchild on trying to manufacture the highly promising technology, the MOS SGT circuits utilizing the field effect from the "gate" on the conducting "channel" from source to drain.


  1. 1 2 "About Fairchild - Overview of Fairchild Semiconductor Company". Fairchild. Retrieved January 8, 2014.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 "Financial Statements for Fairchild Semiconductor Intl Inc - Google Finance" . Retrieved 7 March 2017.
  3. Leslie R Berlin. "Robery Noyce and Fairchild Semiconductor, 1957-1968" (PDF). People.seas.harvard.edu. Business History Review. Retrieved 2016-01-08.
  4. Jeffrey S. Young (1998). Greatest Technology Stories. John Wiley and Sons. p. 118. ISBN   0-471-24374-4.
  5. "Transistor Museum Photo Gallery Fairchild 2N697 Silicon Mesa Transistor". Semiconductormuseum.com. Retrieved 2016-01-08.
  6. "Silicon Mesa Transistors Enter Commercial Production". computerhistory.com. Retrieved 2018-09-21.
  7. Christophe Lécuyer (2006). Making Silicon Valley: Innovation and the Growth of High Tech, 1930-1970. MIT Press. pp. 214–252. ISBN   978-0-262-12281-8.
  8. Bassett, Ross Knox (2007). To the Digital Age: Research Labs, Start-up Companies, and the Rise of MOS Technology. Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 46. ISBN   9780801886393.
  9. 1 2 "1960 - Metal Oxide Semiconductor (MOS) Transistor Demonstrated". The Silicon Engine. Computer History Museum.
  10. Lojek, Bo (2007). History of Semiconductor Engineering. Springer Science & Business Media. pp. 321–3. ISBN   9783540342588.
  11. Chih-Tang Sah (30 October 1991). Fundamentals of Solid State Electronics. World Scientific Publishing Co Inc. pp. 525–. ISBN   978-981-310-349-8.
  12. Linden T. Harrison (22 August 2005). Current Sources and Voltage References: A Design Reference for Electronics Engineers. Newnes. pp. 3–. ISBN   978-0-08-045555-6.
  13. Rakesh Kumar Garg; Ashish Dixit; Pavan Yadav (1 January 2008). Basic Electronics. Firewall Media. pp. 331–. ISBN   978-81-318-0302-8.
  14. Nakamura, Lisa. "Indigenous Circuits". Computer History Museum. Retrieved 21 January 2016.
  15. Nakamura, Lisa (December 2014). "Indigenous Circuits:Navajo Women and the Racialization of Early Electronic Manufacture" (PDF). American Quarterly. 66 (4): 919–941. Retrieved 21 January 2016.
  16. Nakamura, Lisa (2014-12-15). "Indigenous Circuits: Navajo Women and the Racialization of Early Electronic Manufacture". American Quarterly. 66 (4): 919–941. doi:10.1353/aq.2014.0070. ISSN   1080-6490.
  17. Jeffrey S. Young (1998). Greatest Technology Stories. John Wiley and Sons. p. 127. ISBN   0-471-24374-4.
  18. Making Silicon Valley: Innovation and the Growth of High Tech, 1930-1970, by Christophe Lécuyer, published by MIT Press, 2006. ISBN   0-262-12281-2, ISBN   978-0-262-12281-8; page 260
  19. National Semiconductor#Founding
  20. 1 2 Laws, David (January 7, 2015). "Who named Silicon Valley?". Computer History Museum. Retrieved 16 October 2018.
  21. A Legal Bridge Spanning 100 Years: From the Gold Mines of El Dorado to the "Golden" Startups of Silicon Valley by Gregory Gromov
  22. Rhett Morris (July 26, 2014). "The First Trillion-Dollar Startup". Tech Crunch . Retrieved February 22, 2019.
  23. Martin, Douglas (August 16, 2008). "Lester Hogan's obituary - New York Times". The New York Times.
  24. Bob Johnstone (1999). We were burning: Japanese entrepreneurs and the forging of the electronic age. Basic Books. pp. 175–211. ISBN   978-0-465-09118-8.
  25. "8-bit Microprocessors - F8 (3850)". Archived from the original on July 17, 2011. Retrieved 2013-08-18.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  26. Laws, David. "The Legacy of Fairchild" (PDF). Computer History Museum’s Visible Storage Exhibit.
  27. R. J. Brachman (Winter–Spring 1983). "Research at Fairchild". AI Magazine. 4 (1): 45–46. ISSN   0738-4602.
  28. "Do Oil and Data Mix?". Forbes. Retrieved 2016-01-08.
  29. "Acquisition of Raytheon's semiconductor division". Electronic News. January 12, 1998.
  30. Stephan Ohr (December 21, 1998). "Fairchild acquires Samsung power group". EE Times .
  31. "Fairchild Semiconductor Completes the Acquisition of Samsung Electronics' Power Device Division. - Free Online Library". Thefreelibrary.com. Retrieved 2016-01-08.
  32. "Electronics Engineering Blog | Fairchild - Samsung Mobile Rewards Fairchild As The Only Supplier To Consecutively Win Their Coveted Supply Chain Management Award!". Blog.fairchildsemi.com. Archived from the original on 2016-03-03. Retrieved 2016-01-08.
  33. "Kirk Pond appointed as a Director of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston". Business Wire. January 9, 2004.
  34. "Fairchild announces appointment of Mark Thompson as CEO". Powerelectronics.com. Retrieved 2016-01-08.
  35. "Fairchild Semiconductor announces Kirk Pond's retirement as Chairman". Powerpulse.net. Retrieved 2016-01-08.
  36. King, Ian. "Fairchild to Close Plants, Cut Up to 15% of Workforce". Bloomberg. Retrieved 17 January 2017.