Who is the inventor of a semiconductor?

2019-05-20 午後3.09.10

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Who is the inventor of semiconductors?

Semiconductors are included in many machines, including PCs and smartphones, and are now indispensable to our lives.

However, I think that there are many people who have not known the details of the semiconductor even though they have heard the name.

So, I will summarize the basic explanation about such semiconductor and the inventor in detail.

First of all, what is semiconductors?

A semiconductor is a substance whose electrical conductivity at room temperature is halfway between a conductor that conducts electricity and an insulator that does not conduct electricity. There is a mechanism that as the temperature rises, the conductivity increases, though it hardly conducts electricity at low temperatures. Typical ones are silicon, magnesium, selenium and so on, and these are used to make ICs and diodes.

What is the beginning of semiconductor history?

In fact, the history of semiconductors can not be decided clearly. One of the characteristics of semiconductors was discovered as far back as 1821, but the mechanism of the diode that is the foundation of modern semiconductors was first invented in 1874. Furthermore, in 1947, transistors were developed to control the flow of electricity. This time, I will focus on the inventor of this diode and transistor.

Ferdinand Brown

Brown discovered in 1874 that contacting a metal needle with metal sulfide has the effect of causing electricity to flow to one side only and be rectified. This is the most primitive form of the diode. Then in 1899 patented ore rectifier. Ten years later, in 1909, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in recognition of his contributions to the development of wireless communications. By the way, “Brown tube” of TV is taken from the name of this brown.

William Shockley

Shockley began developing semiconductor amplifiers in 1938. Later, in 1947, Bardeen and Bradden of the same laboratory developed a point contact transistor and confirmed the signal amplification function, but it is fragile and difficult to mass-produce, and Shockley makes a junction type transistor the following year. Invented, the transistor here spread rapidly. Shockley continued his research on semiconductors and received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1956.


The time when the semiconductor was first invented can not be determined clearly, but it was Ferdinand Brown who made the basis of the semiconductor, and it was William Shockley who invented the mass-produced transistor and contributed to the spread of the semiconductor.

It can be said that these two are the inventors of semiconductors used in the present age.

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