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Bell Labs - Germanium Refining
May 1954 Radio & Television News

May 1954 Radio & TV News
May 1954 Radio & Television News Cover - RF Cafe[Table of Contents]

Wax nostalgic about and learn from the history of early electronics. See articles from Radio & Television News, published 1919-1959. All copyrights hereby acknowledged.

Bell Telephone Laboratories (Bell Labs), having been responsible for creating the first positive amplification point contact transistor just before Christmas 1947, continued to lead the way in semiconductor research and new product announcements for many decades. This little tidbit was tucked away at the bottom of page 120 in the May 1954 issue of Radio & Television News magazine. It reported on "the purest substances in the world" being created there in the form of 99.99999999% (aka 10N) pure germanium crystals, which are used as seed for growing boules for device production. That's one rogue impurity atom in ten billion germanium atoms. Modern monocrystalline silicon boules are typically 7N or better.

Bell Labs Germanium Refining

Bell Labs Germanium Refining, May 1954 Radio & Television News - RF CafeThe purest substances in the world - 99.99999999 per-cent pure - are being made at Bell Labs by means of a new and simple refining method developed there. These substances have only one atom of impurity in ten billion atoms of the material - about the same as a pinch of salt in 35 freight cars of sugar. The new process is being used in refining germanium for transistors. W. G. Pfann, left, inventor of the "zone-melting" process, is shown operating the equipment while J. H. Scaff holds single crystal of purified germanium.

 

Posted June 4, 2020

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