The history of integrated circuits (ICs) started in Bell Labs as early as 1947 when Bardeen and Brattain succeeded in the development of the first point-contact transistor utilizing semiconductor materials.1 The point-contact transistor was not a practical product, since it was hard to fabricate even as a separate device.
In 1951, commercialization began in earnest when the junction transistor was developed by Shockley, and within a decade it was being used in telephone systems, hearing aids, and radios.
Parallel to the invention of the transistor, in 1952, single crystal silicon was grown by Texas Instruments for use in transistors. During the same time, Bell continued in the development of several major components of photolithography, such as oxidation, diffusion, and etching with the use of photomasks, the fundamental tools in today’s IC processing.
The development of ICs began when Jack Kilby of Texas Instruments demonstrated a simple IC oscillator in 1958. Kilby’s idea for circuit integration was not immediately successful, since the elements of the oscillator were connected by wire bonding. Later, during 1958–1959, Jean Hoerni and Robert Noyce from Fairchild developed the idea of thin film interconnection. This was accomplished through the development of N and P junctions, silicon dioxide isolation, the etching of holes for contacts to junctions, and the deposition of thin metal films. Finally, during 1960, all the major components of planar photolithography were discovered and the era of integrated circuits had begun.
Online access to SPIE eBooks is limited to subscribing institutions.