Description

This book sets out to explain the development of modern electronic systems and devices from the viewpoint of the semiconductor materials (germanium, silicon, gallium arsenide and many others) which made them possible. It covers the scientific understanding of these materials and its intimate relationship with their technology and many applications. It began with Michael Faraday, took off in a big way with the invention of the transistor at Bell Labs in 1947 and is still burgeoning today. It is a story to match any artistic or engineering achievement of man and this is the first time it has been presented in a style suited to the non-specialist. It is written in a lively, non-mathematical style which brings out the excitement of discovery and the fascinating interplay between the demands of system pull and technological push. It also looks at the nature of some of the personal interactions which helped to shape the modern technological world. An introductory chapter illustrates just how dependent we are on modern electronic systems and explains the significance of semiconductors in their development. It also provides, in as painless a way as possible, a necessary understanding of semiconductor properties in relation to these applications. The second chapter takes up the historical account and ends with some important results emerging from the Second World War – including its effect on the organisation of scientific research. Chapter three describes the world-shaking discovery of the transistor and some of the early struggles to make it commercially viable, including the marketing of the first transistor radio. In chapter four we meet the integrated circuit which gave shape to much of our modern life in the form of the personal computer (and which gave rise to a famously long-running patent war!). Later chapters cover the application of compound semiconductors to light-emitting devices, such as LEDs and lasers, and light detecting devices su

Key Features

- A historical account of the development of semiconductor physics, devices and applications from the nineteenth century to the present day
- Coverage of the importance of material quality and its relation to the physics of the devices
- Presented in a strictly non-mathematical and anecedotal way, to appeal to a wide audience
- Provides the broad sweep of science history

Readership

Non-scientists, professionals working in the semiconductor or computing industry, and individuals interested in the history of semiconductors

Table of Contents

  1. What Exactly is a Semiconductor: and what can it do?
  2. The First Hundred Years: From Faraday to Yesterday
  3. Birth of the Transistor: Point Contacts and P-N Junctions
  4. Micro and Macro: The Integrated Circuit and Power Electronics
  5. Laser Beams and Microwaves: Gallium Arsenide and Indium Phosphide
  6. Quantum Theory and Quantum Practice: The Nanostructure Revolution
  7. Light-Emitting Diodes: White Light for Green Consumers
  8. Information Highways and the Fibre Revolution
  9. Seeing in the Dark: Image Tubes and Thermal Viewers
  10. Large Area Electronics: Flat Screen TV and Solar Electricity

Details

No. of pages:
350
Language:
English
Copyright:
© 2009
Published:
Imprint:
Academic Press
eBook ISBN:
9780080963907
Print ISBN:
9780444532404

About the author

John Orton

Affiliations and Expertise

Emeritus Professor, University of Nottingham, UK