Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory


Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory

Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory was the first company to work on silicon semiconductor devices in what came to be known as Silicon Valley.

In 1956 William Shockley opened Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory as a division of Beckman Instruments in Mountain View; his plan was to develop a new type of "4-layer diode" that would work faster and have more uses than current transistors. At first he attempted to hire some of his former colleagues from Bell Labs, but none were willing to move to the West Coast or work with Shockley again. Instead he founded the core of a new company in the best and brightest new graduates coming out of the engineering schools.

Shockley was domineering and displayed increasingly bizarre behavior. In one famous incident Shockley's secretary accidentally cut her finger and he became convinced it was a plot against him. He then ordered everyone in the company to take a lie detector test to track down the culprit. It was later demonstrated she had cut herself on a broken thumbtack and Shockley calmed down, but the damage was already done. [http://www-sul.stanford.edu/depts/hasrg/histsci/silicongenesis/moore-ntb.html]

When Shockley decided his lab would no longer research silicon-based semiconductors, a group later widely known as the Traitorous Eight decided to start their own company. [http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/02/weekinreview/02goodheart.html] The eight men were Julius Blank, Victor Grinich, Jean Hoerni, Eugene Kleiner, Jay Last, Gordon Moore, Robert Noyce, and Sheldon Roberts. Looking for funding on their own project, they turned to Sherman Fairchild's Fairchild Camera and Instrument, an Eastern U.S. company with considerable military contracts. In 1957, Fairchild Semiconductor was started with plans on making silicon transistors – at the time germanium was still a common material for semiconductor use.

ee also

Traitorous Eight

External links

* [http://www.shockleytransistor.com A modern website (shockleytransistor.com)] carries on the Shockley name to remember the laboratory and those who first processed silicon in Silicon Valley.


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