Jack Kilby describes how he developed the world's first
"After several interviews, I was hired by Willis Adcock
of Texas Instruments. My duties were not precisely defined,
but it was understood that I would work in the general area
of microminiaturization. Soon after starting at TI in May
1958, I realized that since the company made transistors,
resistors, and capacitors, a repackaging effort might provide
an effective alternative to the Micro-Module. I therefore
designed an IF amplifier using components in a tubular format
and built a prototype. We also performed a detailed cost analysis,
which was completed just a few days before the plant shut
down for a mass vacation.
"As a new employee, I had no vacation time coming and was
left alone to ponder the results of the IF amplifier exercise.
The cost analysis gave me my first insight into the cost structure
of a semiconductor house. The numbers were high very
high and I felt it likely that I would be assigned
to work on a proposal for the Micro-Module program when vacation
was over unless I came up with a good idea very quickly. In
my discouraged mood, I began to feel that the only thing a
semiconductor house could make in a cost-effective way was
a semiconductor. Further thought led me to the conclusion
that semiconductors were all that were really required
that resistors and capacitors, in particular, could be made
from the same material as the active devices.
"I also realized that, since all of the components could
be made of a single material, they could also be made in situ,
interconnected to form a complete circuit. I then quickly
sketched a proposed design for a flip-flop using these components.
Resistors were provided by bulk effect in the silicon, and
capacitors by p-n junctions.
"These sketches were quickly completed, and I showed them
to Adcock upon his return from vacation. He was enthused but
skeptical and asked for some proof that circuits made entirely
of semiconductors would work. I therefore built up a circuit
using discrete silicon elements. Packaged grown-junction transistors
were used. Resistors were formed by cutting small bars of
silicon and etching to value. Capacitors were cut from diffused
silicon power transistor wafers, metallized on both sides.
This unit was assembled and demonstrated to Adcock on August
"Although this test showed that circuits could be built with
all semiconductor elements, it was not integrated. I immediately
attempted to build an integrated structure as initially planned.
I obtained several wafers, diffused and with contacts in place.
By choosing the circuit, I was able to lay out two structures
that would use the existing contacts on the wafers. The first
circuit attempted was a phase-shift oscillator, a favorite
demonstration vehicle for linear circuits at that time.
"On September 12, 1958, the first three oscillators of this
type were completed. When power was applied, the first unit
oscillated at about 1.3 megacycles.
"The concept was publicly announced at a press conference
in New York on March 6, 1959. Mark Shepherd said, "I
consider this to be the most significant development by Texas
Instruments since we divulged the commercial availability
of the silicon transistor." Pat Haggerty predicted the circuits
first would be applied to the further miniaturization of electronic
computers, missiles, and space vehicles and said that any
application to consumer goods such as radio and television
receivers would be several years away."
A television program in 1997 said about the integrated circuit
and Jack Kilby, "One invention we can say is one of the most
significant in history -- the microchip, which has made possible
endless numbers of other inventions. For the past 40 years,
Kilby has watched his invention change the world. Jack Kilby
one of the few people who can look around the globe
and say to himself 'I changed how the world functions.'"