History of Semiconductor Engineering

Front Cover
Springer Science & Business Media, Jul 28, 2007 - Science - 387 pages
performing ?rms were curtailed following the stock market decline and the subsequent economic slowdown of 2001 and 2002. The Federal Government was once the main source of the nation’s R&D funds, funding as much as 66. 7 percent of all U. S. R&D in 1964. The Federal share ?rst fell below 50 percent in 1979, and after 1987 it fell steadily, dr- ping from 46. 3 percent in that year to 25. 1 percent in 2000 (the lowest it has ever been since 1953). Adjusting for in?ation, Federal support decreased 18 percent from 1987 to 2000, although in nominal terms, Federal support grew from $58. 5 billion to $66. 4 billion during that period. Growth in industrial funding generally outpaced growth in Federal support, leading to the decline in Federal support as a proportion of the total. Fig. 2. Doctorates awarded in Engineering, Physics, and Mathematics: 1995–2002 [Source: National Science Foundation NSF 04–303 (October 2003)] Figure 1 explains the most signi?cant change in the industry which occurred in the early sixties. The industry, with pressure from Wall Street, could not ?nance long-range and risky basic research. The objective of basic research is to gain more comprehensive knowledge or understanding of the subject under study without speci?c applications in mind. Basic research advances scienti?c knowledge but does not have speci?c immediate commercial objectives. Basic research can fail and often will not bring results in a short period of time.

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Amazingly accurate and interesting!

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No book about semiconductor engineering could fit in this number of pages and even cover the important issues. But on balance, Bo Lojek kept so many images of people, equipment ads, and many old machines that I read it first just looking at the pictures, then dove into the great chapter on Bob Widler. Widlar created the LM101 and beyond at the birth of National Semi in Bay Area with his process partner Dave Talbert. Bub cashed in his National stock options, moved to Mexico beaches and consulted for National, famously showing up in new product ads sitting on beach with drink raised high saying "I'll drink to that." In my opinion, Widlar created the linear IC industry and National was finally merged in with Texas Instruments who continues that focus on analog for precision, and digital for low cost.
I found many friends in the index, and the data on them was incomplete of course, but accurate.
Shockley is idolized a bit much, and Noyce and Moore not. So reader is warned that as an engineer, like myself, Lojek has strong feelings about management people and how they treated their best engineers, many of whom left Fairchild in droves as the Bay Area became the "new normal" for corporate work instability. Prior to this explosion of job changes, people tended to work for same company for decades if not life. I remember that early 60's time when each time I changed jobs, I got a double-digit percentage raise, not common any longer, but very common in our industry in early years.
Its an industry of immigrants and that shows up in the book many times, including Bo Lojek himself and his unedited English phrases. But I re-read parts of this book often. Eastern Europeans worked the early steel and mining industry post WWII back East, and Asian have always come to West coast to work. Check the list of names in the index and you will see a map of the world. Its amazing how quickly the innovations spread, by patent license, or by word of mouth on process tricks at the Wagon Wheel bar while interviewing for jobs every Friday night.
Wild times, with new fabs popping up until the Japanese started outproducing us on yield and quality in 70's, That wakeup call led to Sematech's attempt by government to save some of the equipment industry in the US. And some are still in US. But now most of California is fabless. Design only, or design and test shops sent every new product to Asian foundries to be manufactured after Morris Chang of TI invented the foundry industry with TSMC in his homeland, Taiwan (formerly Formosa for old timers). You can read lots of our industry history in Wikipedia. Hardcopy books are being augmented by blogs and Wiki which can be edited for errors over time by many volunteers until the dust settles. But for now, enjoy this great book any way you can get it.


Research Organization Bell Telephone Laboratories
Grown Junction and Diffused Transistors
Shockley Semiconductor Laboratories
Fairchild Semiconductor Corporation Subsidiary of Fairchild Camera and Instrument Company
Driving the Company Out of Business
Integrated Circuits outside Fairchild Semiconductor
Linear Integrated Circuits PreWidlar Era Prior to 1963
Robert J Widlar The Genius The Legend The Bohemian
National Semiconductor A New Type of Semiconductor Company
The MOS Transistor
Name Index

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Page 2 - With the advent of the transistor and the work in semiconductors generally, it seems now possible to envisage electronic equipment in a solid block with no connecting wires. The block may consist of layers of insulating, conducting, rectifying and amplifying materials, the electrical functions being connected directly by cutting out areas of the various layers".
Page 11 - Our species is the only creative species, and it has only one creative instrument, the individual mind and spirit of a man. Nothing was ever created by two men. There are no good collaborations, whether in music, in art, in poetry, in mathematics, in philosophy. Once the miracle of creation has taken place, the group can build and extend it, but the group never invents anything. The preciousness lies in the lonely mind of a man.
Page 10 - The innovator makes enemies of all those who prospered under the old order, and only lukewarm support is forthcoming from those who would prosper under the new.
Page ix - Development is systematic use of the knowledge and understanding gained from research, directed toward the production of useful materials, devices, systems, or methods, including design and development of prototypes and processes.
Page 1 - Who controls the past controls the future; who controls the present controls the past/
Page ix - The objective of basic research is to gain more comprehensive knowledge or understanding of the subject under study, without specific applications in mind. Basic research is defined as research that advances scientific knowledge but does not have specific immediate commercial objectives, although it may be in fields of present or potential commercial interest.
Page 24 - In the shape of a small metal cylinder about a half-inch long, the transistor contains no vacuum, grid, plate or glass envelope to keep the air away.

About the author (2007)

Bo Lojek received his Ph.D. in Solid State Physics from Charles University in Prague. He joined the semiconductor industry in the middle of the nineteen sixties and has been working in the industry since then. Currently, he is the Principal Engineer in Atmel Corporation and Adjunct Professor of Electrical Engineering at the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs. He holds over thirty patents, most of them on the nonvolatile memory cell.

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