Early point-contact transistor, 1940s

Early point-contact transistor, 1940s

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Credit: EMILIO SEGRE VISUAL ARCHIVES/AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF PHYSICS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

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Caption: Early point-contact transistor. This image is from a collection named for US physicist Walter Houser Brattain (1902-1987). Brattain, with fellow physicists John Bardeen and William Shockley, invented the transistor. The key work was carried out in late 1947 at Bell Laboratories, New Jersey, USA. This first transistor was a type called a point-contact transistor, with two gold contacts (rods at lower centre) applied to a crystal of the semiconductor element germanium (square block). All three physicists shared the 1956 Nobel Prize in Physics for this work. Transistors are key components in modern solid-state electronics.

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