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137 Years of Solid-state Electronics

Retronics series

137 Years of Solid-state Electronics

You might be surprised to learn that solid-state electronics date back as far as 1874, when in fact Ferdinand Braun invented a solid-state rectifier using a point contact based on lead sulphide. But the chief credit for starting the silicon revolution goes to Greenleaf Pickard of Amesbury, Massachusetts, who discovered that the point contact between a fine metallic wire (the so-called ‘cat’s whisker’) and the surface of certain crystalline materials (notably silicon) could rectify and demodulate high-frequency alternating currents, such as those produced by radio waves in a receiving antenna.

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