The Invention of the Transistor

inventionstories1.jpgThrough out the first half of the twentieth century radio valves played an important role within electronic products. In 1947, however, scientists at the AT&T Bell Laboratories developed a device that would revolutionize the whole economy: the transistor.

The first demonstration of the transistor was carried by William Shockley, John Bardeen and Walter Brattain, and the three would later receive the Physics Nobel Prize for their contribution to the project.

One of the most important discoveries related to the transistor was the fact that some materials were neither electrical conductors nor electrical resistors, they were in fact semi-conductors. Silicon, for instance, is a semi-conductor and William Shockley figured that he could change the properties of semi-conductors by “doping” it with certain substances.

The interesting fact about the invention of the transistor is that AT&T failed to transform it into innovation. The invention was obviously patented, but the organization was not able to find promptly an application for the new device. They did an outstanding job with the invention, but failed to commercialize it.

Precisely for that reason in 1952 AT&T decided to license out the transistor. For $ 25.000 companies like Texas Instruments, Sony and IBM acquired a technology that would produce billions of revenues in the coming years.

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