This chapter describes the work leading to the invention of the point-contact transistor at Bell Labs in 1947 by John Bardeen, Walter Brattain, and William Shockley, together with Shockley's later proposal for the junction transistor. It explains the context of the work, which can be described as ‘planned research’, involving teams of scientists with specific aims in view. The chapter also contains accounts of the physics and technology of silicon and germanium, describing zone-refining methods for purifying silicon or germanium boules and the Czochralski method for growing high quality single crystals from the melt. The band structure of these semiconductors is then described, introducing the concepts of their indirect band gaps, optical properties, effective masses, and free carrier mobilities. The importance of surface states in determining surface band-bending is emphasised. Minority carrier diffusion is discussed within the context of transistor action. The evolution of transistor technology is described.
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