Frank Wanlass

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Dr. Frank Marion Wanlass (May 17, 1933 in Thatcher, AZ September 9, 2010 in Santa Clara, California) was an American electrical engineer. He is best known for inventing CMOS (complementary MOS) logic with Chih-Tang Sah in 1963. CMOS has since become the standard semiconductor device fabrication process for MOSFETs (metal-oxide-semiconductor field-effect transistors). [1]

Thatcher, Arizona Town in Arizona, United States

Thatcher is a town in Graham County, Arizona, United States. According to the 2010 Census, the population of the town is 4,865. It is part of the Safford Micropolitan Statistical Area.

Santa Clara, California City in California

Santa Clara is a city in Santa Clara County, California. The city's population was 116,468 as of the 2010 United States Census, making it the ninth-most populous city in the San Francisco Bay Area. Located on the southern coast of San Francisco Bay immediately west of San Jose and 45 miles (72 km) southeast of San Francisco, the city was founded in 1777 with the establishment of Mission Santa Clara de Asís, the eighth of 21 California missions. The city was later incorporated in 1852. The mission, the city, and the county are all named for Saint Clare of Assisi.

California State of the United States of America

California is a state in the Pacific Region of the United States. With 39.6 million residents across a total area of about 163,696 square miles (423,970 km2), California is the most populous U.S. state and the third-largest by area. The state capital is Sacramento. The Greater Los Angeles Area and the San Francisco Bay Area are the nation's second- and fifth-most populous urban regions, with 18.7 million and 9.7 million residents respectively. Los Angeles is California's most populous city, and the country's second-most populous, after New York City. California also has the nation's most populous county, Los Angeles County, and its largest county by area, San Bernardino County. The City and County of San Francisco is both the country's second-most densely populated major city after New York City and the fifth-most densely populated county, behind only four of the five New York City boroughs.



He obtained his PhD from the University of Utah. Wanlass invented CMOS (complementary MOS) logic circuits with Chih-Tang Sah in 1963, while working at Fairchild Semiconductor. [2] Wanlass was given U.S. patent #3,356,858 for "Low Stand-By Power Complementary Field Effect Circuitry" in 1967. [3]

University of Utah public coeducational space-grant research university in Salt Lake City, Utah

The University of Utah is a public research university in Salt Lake City, Utah, United States. As the state's flagship university, it offers more than 100 undergraduate majors and more than 92 graduate degree programs. The university is classified among "Doctoral Universities – Very High Research Activity" with "selective, higher transfer-in" admissions. Graduate studies include the S.J. Quinney College of Law and the School of Medicine, Utah's first medical school. As of Fall 2015, there are 23,909 undergraduate students and 7,764 graduate students, for an enrollment total of 31,673.

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.

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 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.

In 1963, while studying MOSFET (metal-oxide-semiconductor field-effect transistor) structures, he noted the movement of charge through oxide onto a gate. While he did not pursue it, this idea would later become the basis for EPROM (erasable programmable read-only memory) technology. [4]

The gate oxide is the dielectric layer that separates the gate terminal of a MOSFET from the underlying source and drain terminals as well as the conductive channel that connects source and drain when the transistor is turned on. Gate oxide is formed by thermal oxidation of the silicon of the channel to form a thin insulating layer of silicon dioxide. The insulating silicon dioxide layer is formed through a process of self-limiting oxidation, which is described by the Deal Grove model. A conductive gate material is subsequently deposited over the gate oxide to form the transistor. The gate oxide serves as the dielectric layer so that the gate can sustain as high as 1 to 5 MV/cm transverse electric field in order to strongly modulate the conductance of the channel.

Metal gate

A metal gate, in the context of a lateral Metal-Oxide-Semiconductor MOS stack, is just that—the gate material is made from a metal.

An EPROM, or erasable programmable read-only memory, is a type of programmable read-only memory (PROM) chip that retains its data when its power supply is switched off. Computer memory that can retrieve stored data after a power supply has been turned off and back on is called non-volatile. It is an array of floating-gate transistors individually programmed by an electronic device that supplies higher voltages than those normally used in digital circuits. Once programmed, an EPROM can be erased by exposing it to strong ultraviolet light source. EPROMs are easily recognizable by the transparent fused quartz window in the top of the package, through which the silicon chip is visible, and which permits exposure to ultraviolet light during erasing.

In 1964, Wanlass moved to General Microelectronics (GMe), where he made the first commercial MOS integrated circuits, and a year later to General Instrument Microelectronics Division in New York, [5] where he developed four-phase logic. [6]

General Microelectronics (GMe) was an American semiconductor company in the 1960s.

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.

General Instrument (GI) was an American electronics manufacturer based in Horsham, Pennsylvania, specializing in semiconductors and cable television equipment. The company was active until 1997, when it split into General Semiconductor, CommScope and NextLevel Systems.

He was also remembered for his contribution to solving threshold voltage stability in MOS transistors due to sodium ion drift.

In 1991, Wanlass was awarded the IEEE Solid-State Circuits Award. [7]

In 2009, on the 50th anniversary of both the MOSFET and the integrated circuit, Frank Wanlass was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame for his invention of CMOS logic. He was part of the 2009 class celebrating semiconductor pioneers, along with inventors of semiconductor technologies such as the MOSFET (Mohamed Atalla and Dawon Kahng), planar process (Jean Hoerni), EPROM (Dov Frohman) and molecular beam epitaxy (Alfred Y. Cho). [8] [1]

National Inventors Hall of Fame Award

The National Inventors Hall of Fame (NIHF) is an American not-for-profit organization which recognizes individual engineers and inventors who hold a U.S. patent of highly significant technology. Founded in 1973, its primary mission is to "honor the people responsible for the great technological advances that make human, social and economic progress possible." Besides the Hall of Fame, it also operates a museum in Alexandria, Virginia, and a former middle school in Akron, Ohio, and sponsors educational programs, a collegiate competition, and special projects all over the United States to encourage creativity among students.

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.

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".

Wanlass died on 9 September 2010.

Related Research Articles

Semiconductor device fabrication manufacturing process used to create integrated circuits

Semiconductor device fabrication is the process used to create the MOSFET semiconductor devices used in the integrated circuits (ICs) that are present in everyday electrical and electronic devices. It is a multiple-step sequence of photolithographic and chemical processing steps during which electronic circuits are gradually created on a wafer made of pure semiconducting material. Silicon is almost always used, but various compound semiconductors are used for specialized applications.

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 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.

A semiconductor device is an electronic component that exploits the electronic properties of semiconductor material, principally silicon, germanium, and gallium arsenide, as well as organic semiconductors. Semiconductor devices have replaced vacuum tubes in most applications. They use electrical conduction in the solid state rather than the gaseous state or thermionic emission in a vacuum.

NMOS logic implements logic gates and other digital circuits

N-type metal-oxide-semiconductor logic uses n-type MOSFETs to implement logic gates and other digital circuits. These nMOS transistors operate by creating an inversion layer in a p-type transistor body. This inversion layer, called the n-channel, can conduct electrons between n-type "source" and "drain" terminals. The n-channel is created by applying voltage to the third terminal, called the gate. Like other MOSFETs, nMOS transistors have four modes of operation: cut-off, triode, saturation, and velocity saturation.

BiCMOS is an evolved semiconductor technology that integrates two formerly separate semiconductor technologies, those of the bipolar junction transistor and the CMOS transistor, in a single integrated circuit device.


A VMOS transistor is a type of MOSFET. VMOS is also used for describing the V-groove shape vertically cut into the substrate material. VMOS is an acronym for "vertical metal oxide semiconductor", or "V-groove MOS".

The floating-gate MOSFET (FGMOS) is a type of MOSFET where the gate is electrically isolated, creating a floating node in DC, and a number of secondary gates or inputs are deposited above the floating gate (FG) and are electrically isolated from it. These inputs are only capacitively connected to the FG. Since the FG is completely surrounded by highly resistive material, the charge contained in it remains unchanged for long periods of time. Usually Fowler-Nordheim tunneling and hot-carrier injection mechanisms are used to modify the amount of charge stored in the FG.

Four-phase logic is a type of, and design methodology for dynamic logic. It enabled non-specialist engineers to design quite complex ICs, using either PMOS or NMOS processes. It uses a kind of 4-phase clock signal.

PMOS logic p-type MOSFETs to implement logic gates

P-type metal-oxide-semiconductor logic uses p-channel metal-oxide-semiconductor field effect transistors (MOSFETs) to implement logic gates and other digital circuits. PMOS transistors operate by creating an inversion layer in an n-type transistor body. This inversion layer, called the p-channel, can conduct holes between p-type "source" and "drain" terminals.

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 principle of a field-effect transistor was proposed by Julius Edgar Lilienfeld in 1925.

Chih-Tang "Tom" Sah is a Chinese-American engineer. He is the Pittman Eminent Scholar and a Graduate Research Professor at the University of Florida from 1988. He was a Professor of Physics and Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, emeritus, at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he taught for 26 years and guided 40 students to the Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering and in physics and 34 MSEE theses. At the University of Florida, he guided 10 doctoral theses in EE. He has published about 280 journal articles and presented about 170 invited lectures and 60 contributed papers in China, Europe, Japan, Taiwan and in the United States on transistor physics, technology and evolution.

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).

Dawon Kahng South Korean engineer

Dawon Kahng was a Korean-American electrical engineer and inventor, known for his work in solid-state electronics. He is best known for inventing the MOSFET, also known as the MOS transistor, with Mohamed Atalla in 1959. Atalla and Kahng developed both the PMOS and NMOS processes for MOSFET semiconductor device fabrication. The MOSFET has since become the most widely used type of transistor in modern electronics.

Field-effect transistor transistor that uses an electric field to control the electrical behaviour of the device. FETs are also known as unipolar transistors since they involve single-carrier-type operation

The field-effect transistor (FET) is an electronic device which uses an electric field to control the flow of current. FETs are devices with three terminals: source, gate, and drain. FETs control the flow of current by the application of a voltage to the gate, which in turn alters the conductivity between the drain and source.

The memory cell is the fundamental building block of computer memory. The memory cell is an electronic circuit that stores one bit of binary information and it must be set to store a logic 1 and reset to store a logic 0. Its value is maintained/stored until it is changed by the set/reset process. The value in the memory cell can be accessed by reading it.

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 "Frank Wanlass". National Inventors Hall of Fame . Retrieved 17 August 2019.
  2. "1963: Complementary MOS Circuit Configuration is Invented". Computer History Museum . Retrieved 6 July 2019.
  3. IC Knowledge - History of the Integrated Circuit - 1960s Archived 2007-04-19 at the Wayback Machine
  4. "People". The Silicon Engine. Computer History Museum . Retrieved 17 August 2019.
  5. Bob Johnstone (1999). We were burning: Japanese entrepreneurs and the forging of the electronic age. Basic Books. pp. 47–48. ISBN   978-0-465-09118-8.
  6. Ross Knox Bassett (2007). To the Digital Age: Research Labs, Start-up Companies, and the Rise of MOS Technology. JHU Press. pp. 51, 129–130. ISBN   978-0-8018-8639-3.
  7. List of Solid-State Circuits Award winners
  8. "Inventors Hall of Fame Class of 2009". | Patents & Patent Law. 2009-02-19. Retrieved 2017-04-12.