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Trends in the Semiconductor Industry

1940s to 50s

From the late 1940s to the 1950s

The transistor was invented in the U.S. and mass production of transistors was also established in Japan.
The demand for consumer electronics was boosted in Japan in the ecomic recovery after WWII, and transistors supported this move.

December, 1947: Invention of the point-contact germanium transistor at AT&T Bell Laboratories in the U.S.

Walter H. Brattain and John Bardeen at AT&T Bell Laboratories invented the germanium transistor. In 1949, William B. Shockley created the idea of the junction transistor. Shockley then added his own improvements and succeeded in producing commercial samples in July 1951. AT&T Bell Laboratories announced this in public in May 1952.

First Point Contact Transister

The First Junction Transister

1953 to mid-1950s: Japanese manufacturers started production of germanium transistors

After acquiring the patents from Western Electric Co., Sony produced the first commercial transistor radio in August 1955, in the midst of "radio boom (vacuum-tube based).
"As many other Japanese manufacturers entered this race, Japan gained worldwide recognition of "the transistor radio made in Japan."

February, 1956: Establishment of Semiconductor Laboratory in Santa Clara County, California, .The birth of Silicon Valley

Shockley Semiconductor Laboratories was founded in Palo Alto by William Shockley. Following this, many semiconductor and related companies were born in this area, and the Santa Clara neighboring areas thus started to be called "Silicon Valley."

1958: Invention of IC in U.S.

Jack Kilby from Texas Instruments (TI) invented the germanium solid-state circuit and acquired the patent on monolithic ICs.

The World's first IC Developed by Jack Kilby

1959: Japan reaches No.1 in the production of germanium transistors

With transistor radios becoming increasingly popular, Japanese manufacturers started to use their own processes and equipment in the mass production of transistors.
Japan produced 86 million transistors in 1959, supplanting the U.S. as the world’s No. 1 producer.

1959: U.S. succeeds in commercializing silicon transistors

Over several years following 1956, the U.S. expedited the development of silicon transistors, having superior thermal and frequency characteristics than germanium transistors, for use in the military, aerospace, and computer industries.