Invention of the integrated circuit – Wikipedia

May 16, 2019

The idea of integrating electronic circuits into a single device was born when the German physicist and engineer Werner Jacobi [de] developed and patented the first known integrated transistor amplifier in 1949 and the British radio engineer Geoffrey Dummer proposed to integrate a variety of standard electronic components in a monolithic semiconductor crystal in 1952. A year later, Harwick Johnson filed a patent for a prototype integrated circuit (IC).

These ideas could not be implemented by the industry in the early 1950s, but a breakthrough came in late 1958. Three people from three U.S. companies solved three fundamental problems that hindered the production of integrated circuits. Jack Kilby of Texas Instruments patented the principle of integration, created the first prototype ICs and commercialized them. Kurt Lehovec of Sprague Electric Company invented a way to electrically isolate components on a semiconductor crystal. Robert Noyce of Fairchild Semiconductor invented a way to connect the IC components (aluminium metallization) and proposed an improved version of insulation based on the planar technology by Jean Hoerni. On September 27, 1960, using the ideas of Noyce and Hoerni, a group of Jay Last’s at Fairchild Semiconductor created the first operational semiconductor IC. Texas Instruments, which held the patent for Kilby’s invention, started a patent war, which was settled in 1966 by the agreement on cross-licensing.