Hans Camenzind

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Hans R. Camenzind
Hans R. Camenzind

January 1, 1934
Zürich, Switzerland
DiedAugust 8, 2012
Los Altos, California, United States
ResidenceUnited States
Nationality Switzerland
Other namesHans Rudolph Camenzind
Alma mater Northeastern University
University of Santa Clara
Occupation Electrical Engineer, Inventor
Known forDevelopment of 555 timer IC
Spouse(s)Pia Camenzind

Hans R. Camenzind (1 January 1934 – 8 August 2012 [1] ) was a Swiss electronics engineer, famous for designing the 555 timer IC in 1971 under contract to Signetics. [2] He was the inventor on 20 US patents. Camenzind also wrote three books and numerous technical articles, [3] and lectured at the University of Santa Clara.

555 timer IC Most popular integrated circuit ever manufactured

The 555 timer IC is an integrated circuit (chip) used in a variety of timer, pulse generation, and oscillator applications. The 555 can be used to provide time delays, as an oscillator, and as a flip-flop element. Derivatives provide two (556) or four (558) timing circuits in one package.

Signetics integrated circuits manufacturer

Signetics was an American electronics manufacturer specifically established to make integrated circuits. Founded in 1961, they went on to develop a number of early microprocessors and support chips, as well as the widely used 555 timer chip. They were bought by Philips in 1975 and incorporated in Philips Semiconductors.

Under United States law, a patent is a right granted to the inventor of a (1) process, machine, article of manufacture, or composition of matter, (2) that is new, useful, and non-obvious. A patent is the right to exclude others from using a new technology. Specifically, it is the right to exclude others from making, using, selling, offering for sale, importing, inducing others to infringe, and/or offering a product specially adapted for practice of the patent.


Background and education

Camenzind was born and raised in Zürich, Switzerland, where he went to college. In 1960 he moved to the United States, first receiving an MSEE from Northeastern University and then an MBA from the University of Santa Clara.

Northeastern University Private university in Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Northeastern University (NU) is a private research university in Boston, Massachusetts, established in 1898. It is categorized as an R1 institution by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. The university offers undergraduate and graduate programs on its main campus in the Fenway-Kenmore, Roxbury, South End, and Back Bay neighborhoods of Boston. The university has satellite campuses in Charlotte, North Carolina; Seattle, Washington; and San Jose, California, that exclusively offer graduate degrees. An additional satellite campus opened in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, in late 2016. The university's enrollment is approximately 18,000 undergraduate students and 8,000 graduate students.


After six years doing research in the laboratories of PR Mallory [4] in the Boston area, Camenzind moved to the West Coast to join Signetics, [5] later acquired by Philips Semiconductors, and now spun off as NXP Semiconductors. But two years later Signetics lost its way and Camenzind took a leave of absence and worked from home. He then started Interdesign, a semiconductor design company, which he headed for seven years before selling out to Ferranti. Following the sale of Interdesign, Camenzind became an independent analog IC design consultant.

NXP Semiconductors company

NXP Semiconductors N.V. is a Dutch global semiconductor manufacturer headquartered in Eindhoven, Netherlands. The company employs approximately 31,000 people in more than 35 countries, including 11,200 engineers in 33 countries. NXP reported revenue of $6.1 billion in 2015, including one month of revenue contribution from recently merged Freescale Semiconductor.

Ferranti British electrical engineering company

Ferranti or Ferranti International plc was a UK electrical engineering and equipment firm that operated for over a century from 1885 until it went bankrupt in 1993. The company was once a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index.

During his career Camenzind designed the first integrated class D amplifier, introduced the IC phase-locked loop, invented the semicustom IC, and created the legendary 555 timer. By 2006, he had designed 140 standard and custom ICs.

Phase-locked loop electronic circuit

A phase-locked loop or phase lock loop (PLL) is a control system that generates an output signal whose phase is related to the phase of an input signal. There are several different types; the simplest is an electronic circuit consisting of a variable frequency oscillator and a phase detector in a feedback loop. The oscillator generates a periodic signal, and the phase detector compares the phase of that signal with the phase of the input periodic signal, adjusting the oscillator to keep the phases matched.


Camenzind wrote three books and numerous technical articles. His last book, Much Ado About Almost Nothing, published in February 2007, is a general audience book about the history of electronics. Other books include, Designing Analog Chips and, under the pen name John Penter, he also wrote, Circumstantial Evidence, a book about religion.

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Integrated circuit electronic circuit manufactured by lithography; set of electronic circuits on one small flat piece (or "chip") of semiconductor material, normally silicon 639-1 ısoo

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, cheaper, and faster 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.

Motorola 6800

The 6800 is an 8-bit microprocessor designed and first manufactured by Motorola in 1974. The MC6800 microprocessor was part of the M6800 Microcomputer System that also included serial and parallel interface ICs, RAM, ROM and other support chips. A significant design feature was that the M6800 family of ICs required only a single five-volt power supply at a time when most other microprocessors required three voltages. The M6800 Microcomputer System was announced in March 1974 and was in full production by the end of that year.

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.

Electronic design automation (EDA), also referred to as electronic computer-aided design (ECAD), is a category of software tools for designing electronic systems such as integrated circuits and printed circuit boards. The tools work together in a design flow that chip designers use to design and analyze entire semiconductor chips. Since a modern semiconductor chip can have billions of components, EDA tools are essential for their design.

7400-series integrated circuits series of transistor–transistor logic integrated circuits

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Precision Monolithics, Inc. also known as PMI, was an American company based in Santa Clara, California, that developed and produced mixed signal and linear integrated circuits (ICs). It was a pioneer in the fields of digital-to-analog converters and operational amplifiers.

NXP LPC ARM Cortex-M based Microcontrollers by NXP

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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).

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Gabriel Alfonso Rincón-Mora is a Venezuelan-American/Hispanic-American electrical engineer, scientist, professor, inventor, and author who was elected Fellow of the American National Academy of Inventors (NAI) in 2017, Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) in 2011, and Fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) in 2009 for contributions to energy-harvesting and power-supply integrated circuits (ICs). Texas Instruments awarded him a Three-Year Patent Award for U.S. 5,491,437, U.S. 5,500,625, and U.S. 5,519,341 in 1999; Hispanic Business Magazine voted him one of "The 100 Most Influential Hispanics" in 2000; the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) awarded him the National Hispanic in Technology Award in 2000; Florida International University (FIU) awarded him the Charles E. Perry Visionary Award in 2000; the Georgia Institute of Technology inducted him into its Council of Outstanding Young Engineering Alumni in 2000; former Lieutenant Governor Cruz Bustamante of California presented him a State of California Commendation Certificate in 2001; Robins Air Force Base presented him the Orgullo Hispano Award in 2003 and the Hispanic Heritage Award in 2005; IEEE presented him the IEEE Service Award in 2007; and IEEE Circuits and Systems Society (CASS) named him IEEE Distinguished Lecturer in 2009-2010 and 2018-2019.

Advanced Linear Devices Incorporated, also known as ALD, is a semiconductor device design and manufacturing company based in Sunnyvale, California. The company develops and manufactures precision analog CMOS linear integrated circuits for industrial controls, instrumentation, computers, medical devices, automotive, and telecommunications products. It is best known for its redesign of the 555 timer IC as a low-voltage CMOS device.

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  1. Hans Camenzind, 555 timer inventor, dies | EE Times
  2. CR4
  3. IEEE
  4. "THE 555 TIMER, An Interview with Hans Camenzind".
  5. Signetics directory
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