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Did AT&T Invent The Transistor?

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posted on Dec, 20 2009 @ 09:57 PM
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They certainly claim to have.

Could it have come from back-engineered technology?

Did the transistor evolve from the vacuum tube?

I'm curious and this is definitely the place to ask.




posted on Dec, 20 2009 @ 11:01 PM
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reply to post by leftystrat

Did AT&T Invent The Transistor?

That's the official story. There were no doubt many earlier researchers who contributed. Texas Instruments, I believe, was the first company to actually produce transistors.


Could it have come from back-engineered technology?

I doubt it. High capacity microchips do contain transistors, yes, but most of them are MOSFET, since MOSFFET devices are typically able to handle much larger currents and voltages and use much less power to operate. They are simply more efficient, especially for data processing, and would likely be the first transistors man would have had the opportunity to back-engineer should that have happened. Yet, the first transistors produced were bipolar, and the two types are constructed entirely different. If you are speaking of advanced alien technology being back-engineered to produce transistors, I would expect MOSFETs to have come along first; the bipolar transistor came along long before the MOSFET, at least in terms of commercial viability.


Did the transistor evolve from the vacuum tube?

Yes and no. The concept of using a small signal to effect a large one (the principle of amplification) is the same in vacuum tubes as in transistors, so they could be seen as an evolution in that sense. But the structure and operation are entirely different.

Vacuum tunes use a heated emitter and receiver terminal inside the tube to transmit a current. More terminals can hinder this electron flow through the vacuum based on smaller signals, leading to amplification. Transistors use semiconductor materials, made from impure silicon with precise amounts of impurities to form either an excess or lack of electrons in the crystal matrix. They then use small signals (current for bipolar transistors, voltage for MOSFETs) injected into specific locations in the transistor to change how well the current flows through the transistor (the resistance).

A better example of evolution of the transistor would be from the original 'cats-hair' crystals used in early radios, to solid-state diodes, to transistors. The crystals in the early radios were made of germanium, a material which has semiconductive properties, and actually functioned somewhat as a diode to rectify received transmissions. Early diodes and transistors were also made of doped (impure) germanium instead of silicon, although today's semiconductors use silicon as a base material almost exclusively.

TheRedneck



posted on Dec, 20 2009 @ 11:05 PM
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As an electronics designer myself I can tell you that transistor technology is in no way descended from vacuum tube technology and works on a completely different principle.
Here is the Wikipedia page for the topic:
en.wikipedia.org...

Edit to add: Yeah, what he said.



[edit on 20-12-2009 by dainoyfb]



posted on Dec, 21 2009 @ 01:56 AM
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I have an EE degree and I wrote a term paper on the history of the transistor, and I am quite confident that AT&T truly did invent the transistor.


Texas Instruments, I believe, was the first company to actually produce transistors.


The first to produce silicon transistors, which are the vast majority of those used today. The original AT&T transistor was germanium. In fact, there was an amusing anecdote I came across while researching that paper. A bunch of top level engineers and scientists were at a conference talking about the transistor, and a speaker talks about how he thinks silicon transistors have a lot of potential, but estimates that they won't hit market for at least 10 years. Then the next speaker is from TI, gets up, and says something like 'with all due respect to the last guy, I happen to have some silicon transistors right here in my pocket that we just made.' (pwned!)



posted on Dec, 21 2009 @ 07:55 AM
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See, I only had known about Texas Instruments. And then Sony bought the rights to the transistor and made billions because the electronic industry in America wanted to keep with its older industry.



posted on Dec, 21 2009 @ 08:46 AM
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reply to post by leftystrat
 


No, AT&T didn't invent it. It came from Bell Labs.

The first transistor was invented at Bell Laboratories on December 16, 1947 by William Shockley (seated at Brattain's laboratory bench), John Bardeen (left) and Walter Brattain (right). This was perhaps the most important electronics event of the 20th century, as it later made possible the integrated circuit and microprocessor that are the basis of modern electronics. Prior to the transistor the only alternative to its current regulation and switching functions (TRANSfer resISTOR) was the vacuum tube, which could only be miniaturized to a certain extent, and wasted a lot of energy in the form of heat. Although video was possible with vacuum tube equipment, as was the case with the Ampex VRX-1000, without the transistor video products would never have gotten very small.

The picture on the left above shows the first point contact transistor built by Walter Brattain. It consisted of a plastic triangle lightly suspended above a germanium crystal which itself was sitting on a metal plate attached to a voltage source. A strip of gold was wrapped around the point of the triangle with a tiny gap cut into the gold at the precise point it came in contact with the germanium crystal. The germanium acted as a semiconductor so that a small electric current entering on one side of the gold strip came out the other side as a proportionately amplified current.
www.cedmagic.com...


www.physlink.com...

www.pbs.org...

Many people and several schools of thought claim the transistor was given mankind by Gray Aliens. I have read somewhere that when William Shockley was asked to explain how he did it, and produce papers showing the steps he took to produce it, he could not do this. Guess we will never know for sure.



posted on Dec, 21 2009 @ 11:44 AM
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No, AT&T didn't invent it. It came from Bell Labs.


Bell Labs was the research group of AT&T.


have read somewhere that when William Shockley was asked to explain how he did it, and produce papers showing the steps he took to produce it, he could not do this. Guess we will never know for sure.


Brattain and Bardeen got the first transistor to work when Shockley wasn't around, so he didn't actually participate in the final experiments that got it working. That is the most likely reason why he could not produce papers explaining the steps they performed; he wasn't there for the last steps.

(accidentally misclicked and lost the post, so apologies if I left anything out; I retyped it really quick)



posted on Dec, 21 2009 @ 12:58 PM
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I wish I had more detail on this but I'll tell what I can recall.

I had a solid state electronics instructor back in the early 90s who had worked with some classified military research during the late forties. He was in on the B-47 Stratojet project and a few others. He was pretty old the last time I saw him and if he's still around then he's in his late eighties .

He spoke to us about transistors during solid state training and recounted a situation in which he and others in his military research group were given new technology samples to work with.

The members of the group were split into groups of two. They were not allowed to communicate with the other groups during (or after) the duration of the program and all results were classified.

The technology samples were provided with minimal information and instructions. The participants were only told to test and analyze the samples and to see if they could come up with uses for these samples.

The samples that were given in this case had 3 or 4 wire leads sticking out of ice cube shaped pieces of black epoxy (bakelite). The purpose of the epoxy was to prevent the members of the group from knowing anything about the makeup of the device within. The samples had different weights and even different magnetic properties so it was surmised that bits of metal and lead were added in with the test piece in the epoxy to prevent the testers from deducing physical properties of the devices.

Some of these test samples eventually turned out to have the same conductive and amplifcation properties of transistors. (it was years later before my instructor realized this of course) The individuals involved were never told about the origins of the devices.

This isn't a ringing endorsement of an alien technology theory but it is interesting that the military would have teams do classified research of these devices in this particular manner.





[edit on 21-12-2009 by badgerprints]



posted on Dec, 21 2009 @ 01:18 PM
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reply to post by DragonsDemesne

Thanks for the extra info. I am self-taught in electronics, and so had to dig out the history prior to the late 70s (when I started) by myself. I know that back then, transistors were still considered 'new' tech and were slowly replacing vacuum tubes in the commercial sector.

This thread brings back memories of germanium-based semiconductors. I haven't bought a germanium transistor for decades now, and tend to used MOSFETs more than bipolar (except for custom regulators which just don't seem to work as well with MOSFETs).

TheRedneck



posted on Dec, 21 2009 @ 01:20 PM
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reply to post by badgerprints

The military always has the newer technology years before anyone in the private sector knows about it. That is an awesome anecdote!

I have to keep an eye on this thread. I'm learning things.


TheRedneck



posted on Dec, 21 2009 @ 09:20 PM
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@badgerprints: That is an interesting story. I think it is quite possible, given that 'the late 40s' is when the transistor was developed at Bell Labs. (Dec 1947) It would be no surprise if parallel independent research was going on, not to mention that there are other similar devices that your instructor could have been working on.

@theredneck: Well, I wasn't even born yet in the 70s (1982) but yeah transistors took awhile before they became widely used. They were larger and more difficult to manufacture at first, and we didn't have the integrated circuit yet when the transistor was invented.

Interestingly, germanium transistors are still (though rarely) used in some specific applications because they have a lower cutoff voltage, but I personally have never built anything using one. I think they have greater electron mobility, too, if I remember right, but germanium transistors are more expensive because we have developed way better manufacturing processes for silicon than germanium.



posted on Dec, 21 2009 @ 10:06 PM
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Interestingly, germanium transistors are still (though rarely) used in some specific applications because they have a lower cutoff voltage, but I personally have never built anything using one.


Thanks for the excellent comments, all.

I'm a guitar player, among other things, including an electronics tinkerer (also self-taught). It occurs to me that the transistor could be an analog of the triode tube, no?

We guitar players are a wacky breed. Some of us are incredibly taken by Dead Rock Star Syndrome, which causes us to become ridiculously conservative and use effects or amps that our favorite Dead Rock Stars used (as if they will somehow imbue us or our tone with that `magic' they had).

The true nutballs are arguing germanium vs silicon for the one or two transistors in their little distortion boxes. Yes, germanium is very accurate for bad 60's and 70's distortion. One guy claims to be able to hear the tonal difference between regular and alkaline batteries in his boxes (which might explain the tremendous amount of time between albums).

Mind you, these boxes all go in front of the ubiquitous TUBE amp, because they wouldn't be caught dead with a solid state amp (for good reason, of course).

------

That aside, the timing around Roswell and AT&T is interesting if nothing else.



posted on Dec, 21 2009 @ 10:11 PM
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Did the transistor evolve from the vacuum tube?

Yes and no. The concept of using a small signal to effect a large one (the principle of amplification) is the same in vacuum tubes as in transistors, so they could be seen as an evolution in that sense. But the structure and operation are entirely different.


Exactly. Thanks for the eloquent statement.


Damn this is an interesting place!



posted on Dec, 22 2009 @ 01:09 PM
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reply to post by DragonsDemesne

Well, I wasn't even born yet in the 70s (1982) but yeah transistors took awhile before they became widely used. They were larger and more difficult to manufacture at first, and we didn't have the integrated circuit yet when the transistor was invented.

Ah, a young engineer! I hope you do very well; we need bright young minds to make us older guys think again.


Everything that is new is large and bulky and expensive until mass production and production methodology bring the costs and sizes down. The same could be said for cell phones, televisions, and computers. i believe it was ENIAC that took up a few city blocks and required its own power generator substation? All to do less than a good scientific calculator can do today.

The integrated circuit in many ways is to the transistor what a circuit board is to chassis wiring: it's a methodology of putting more components in a smaller space. Interestingly enough (and you probably already know this), today's integrated circuits use transistors to make resistors. The MOSFET requires such small area to make that it is more efficient to design a MOSFET with a bias voltage on the wafer rather than a resistor.


Interestingly, germanium transistors are still (though rarely) used in some specific applications because they have a lower cutoff voltage, but I personally have never built anything using one. I think they have greater electron mobility, too, if I remember right, but germanium transistors are more expensive because we have developed way better manufacturing processes for silicon than germanium.

I'm really not sure what the actual difference between germanium and silicon were; I used to know, but that information doesn't seem accessible right now.


I do know that at one time the situation was reversed; germanium was cheap and silicon was expensive.

If you really want to understand electronics, though, I strongly suggest you spend some spare time in actually building a few things. There's little in this world that can compare to the feeling of watching something you constructed with your own hands start operating.


Plus, real construction knowledge brings with it things you just can't learn in a classroom setting.

TheRedneck



posted on Dec, 22 2009 @ 01:18 PM
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reply to post by leftystrat

I'm a guitar player, among other things, including an electronics tinkerer (also self-taught). It occurs to me that the transistor could be an analog of the triode tube, no?

In operation, it does exactly what the old triode tubes did.

Man, am I jealous! My father could play anything with strings (banjo, rhythm, lead, steel, fiddle, mandolin) and my son plays rhythm/lead now. Me, I have trouble playing a radio.



The true nutballs are arguing germanium vs silicon for the one or two transistors in their little distortion boxes. Yes, germanium is very accurate for bad 60's and 70's distortion. One guy claims to be able to hear the tonal difference between regular and alkaline batteries in his boxes (which might explain the tremendous amount of time between albums).

Mind you, these boxes all go in front of the ubiquitous TUBE amp, because they wouldn't be caught dead with a solid state amp (for good reason, of course).

There are circuits which mimic the old tube sound (which IMHO was richer) and they actually do a decent job. I built one when I was in my early twenties for a friend.

The idea is to use a circuit that combines a slight reverb effect with a slight blurring of the original sound. The result is amazing!


Damn this is an interesting place!

The best forum on the Internet, my friend!


You'll find professionals from all walks of life on here.

TheRedneck



posted on Dec, 25 2009 @ 07:00 PM
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Originally posted by TheRedneck
Man, am I jealous! My father could play anything with strings (banjo, rhythm, lead, steel, fiddle, mandolin) and my son plays rhythm/lead now. Me, I have trouble playing a radio.



And I'm jealous of the people who can actually do the professional electronics work, as opposed to `swap a part til something breaks'.




The idea is to use a circuit that combines a slight reverb effect with a slight blurring of the original sound. The result is amazing!

What do you do for blurring?

I have to admit that software has come a long way. I tried out Native Instruments' Guitar Rig and was quite impressed. Not sure they'll ever get the on the edge distortion but the heavy stuff is all there, complete with processing.

I have one of the first gen Pods, which is a cute little toy. Also a Fender Deluxe with metal 6SC7's. There's interesting stuff at both ends, but it's still tubes for me.


Thanks for the informed input!

Merry Happys to everyone.



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