The Makers of the Microchip - Creating the Planar Integrated Circuit, Establishing Silicon Valley

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9 Σεπ 2011 (πριν από 6 χρόνια και 12 μέρες)

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The history of a seminal company: Fairchild Semiconductor The history of two fundamental innovations: the planar process and the integrated circuit A documentary history approach: follow the emergence of the firm and the creation of the microchip through the documents produced by the founders and other key engineers at Fairchild Semiconductor

The Makers of the Microchip



Creating the Planar Integrated Circuit,
Establishing Silicon Valley

Christophe L
écuyer and David C. Brock



The history of a seminal
company: Fairchild
Semiconductor



The history of two
fundamental innovations:
the planar process and
the integrated circuit



A documentary history
approach: follow the
emergence of the firm and
the creation of the
microchip through the
documents produced by
the founders and other
key engineers at Fairchild
Semiconductor


Microchips and the digitalization of the human
-
built
world


Microchips and the “Silicon Valley dynamic”


Fairchild was a critical site for establishing the
developmental path of digital electronics


Fairchild was important for initiating key aspects of
the “Silicon Valley dynamic”


The microchip and the “Silicon Valley dynamic”
emerged in the context of three logics:



-

Silicon logic



-

User logic



-

Competitive logic




Fairchild
Semiconductor’s
establishment (October
1957)



A very unusual
founding team



Complementary skills
and competencies
(chemistry, solid state
physics, optics,
metallurgy, electrical
engineering, industrial
and mechanical
engineering, glass
blowing…)




Where Fairchild came
from: The Shockley
Semiconductor
Laboratory



Rebellion against
William Shockley
(Shockley’s management
style and differences of
opinion about the
direction of the firm)



The letter to Hayden
Stone & Company



Financing from Fairchild
Camera and Instrument
(an early form of venture
capital)




Sputnik and the growth of
the military market for
silicon devices



Focus on the
development of
manufacturing processes



The order from IBM (core
driver for an airborne
computer)



Development of two
transistors: NPN (Moore)
and PNP (Hoerni)



Introduction of the first
diffused silicon transistor to
the market (August 1958);
monopoly position for about
a year



The reliability problems
of Fairchild’s first
transistor (the tapping
test problem)



Hoerni and the
development of the
planar process
(January
-
March 1959)



Hoerni returned to
ideas he had jotted
down in his notebook in
December 1957:


-

Oxide layer


-

Protected junctions


-

Contacts



He set these ideas
aside for about a year



Starting in January 1959,
Hoerni worked on the planar
process (for a PNP transistor,
and then an NPN transistor)



Hoerni made the first planar
transistor in March 1959



Decision to invest
significant resources in the
development of the planar


-

Much improved reliability


and performance


-

Hoerni’s showmanship


-

Autonetics and the


demands of military


computing (Minuteman)


-

Competitive pressures


(Rheem Semiconductor)



Difficult transfer to
production (major yield
problems)



Fairchild introduced the
planar transistor at the IRE
show in March 1960



Fairchild’s engineers
planarized the firm’s
transistor line and
developed new planar
transistors and diodes
(new plant in San Rafael)



The starting point for the
last 50 years of
semiconductor
manufacturing technology





The planar process gave
Fairchild Semiconductor a
significant advantage in
the development of
miniaturized electronic
circuits



Different approaches to
miniaturization:


-

Hybrid circuits


-

Thin film circuits


-

Functional devices


-

Integrated circuits (TI,


Sprague)



Robert Noyce used
Hoerni’s invention of the
planar to conceive a
practical form of the
integrated circuit



Competition with TI and the
launch of a crash program on
microcircuits directed by Jay
Last (Summer 1959)



The challenge of isolation



Last and the invention of the
physically isolated integrated
circuit



Proof of concept for the planar
integrated circuit



The diffusion isolated
integrated circuit



A concept first proposed
by Noyce



Idea revisited and
realized by Lionel Kattner
and Isy Haas (September
1960)



Introduction of an entire
line of integrated circuits
to the market in March
1961



Fairchild’s planar
integrated circuits set the
developmental path for
semiconductor
technology



Fairchild Semiconductor’s innovations in the 1960s:
the development of MOS and the creation of
commercial markets for silicon transistors and
integrated circuits



Formation of new integrated circuit firms out of
Fairchild: Amelco, Signetics, General
MicroElectronics (first wave, early 1960s); National,
Intel, Intersil… (second wave, late 1960s and early
1970s)



Emergence of the venture capital business in
Silicon Valley



The second wave of Fairchild spin
-
offs, often
funded by venture capital, created the microchips
that accelerated the digitalization of the human
-
built
world