Jack Kilby created the first integrated circuit
12th September 1958
Jack Kilby created the first integrated circuit at Texas Instruments to prove that resistors and capacitors could exist on the same piece of semiconductor material. His circuit consisted of a sliver of germanium with five components linked by wires.
"What we didn't realize then was that the integrated circuit would reduce the cost of electronic functions by a factor of a million to one, nothing had ever done that for anything before" - Jack Kilby
It seems that the integrated circuit was destined to be invented. Two separate inventors, unaware of each other's activities, invented almost identical integrated circuits or ICs at nearly the same time.
Jack Kilby, an engineer with a background in ceramic-based silk screen circuit boards and transistor-based hearing aids, started working for Texas Instruments in 1958. A year earlier, research engineer Robert Noyce had co-founded the Fairchild Semiconductor Corporation. From 1958 to 1959, both electrical engineers were working on an answer to the same dilemma: how to make more of less.
In designing a complex electronic machine like a computer it was always necessary to increase the number of components involved in order to make technical advances. The monolithic (formed from a single crystal) integrated circuit placed the previously separated transistors, resistors, capacitors and all the connecting wiring onto a single crystal (or 'chip') made of semiconductor material. Kilby used germanium and Noyce used silicon for the semiconductor material.
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