EARLY SEMICONDUCTOR DEVELOPMENT AT HUGHES -  PACIFIC SEMI - TRW

Sandy Barnes

 

Oral History – Sandy Barnes (Continued)

 

After this major innovation and success with diodes, I believe that Hughes Aircraft “spun off” the semiconductor business.  Would you provide details?

 

In 1953, Simon Ramo (Director of Guided Missile Research) and Dean Wooldridge (Director of Electronics Research and Development) decided to leave Hughes and start the Ramo-Wooldridge Corp., and this company later merged with Thompson Products , Inc to become known as TRW. The following year Dr. Harper North (Director of Semiconductor Research) left Hughes to form Pacific Semiconductors, Inc (PSI).  PSI was later merged with TRW and became known as TRW Semiconductor Division.

 

The objective for PSI would be to continue the research and development of state of the art germanium point contact and silicon alloy diodes, and later to further the development of high frequency, high power transistors.  Military funding was secured early in the history of PSI.  A U.S. Army Signal Corps Engineering Labs contract was awarded for the development of a silicon computer diffused junction diode.

 

In your role as a senior technical manager at both PSI and TRW through the 60s, 70s and 80s, would it be possible to briefly summarize the major semiconductor achievements at these companies during these years?

 

 

 

      

 

Oral History – Sandy Barnes (Continued)

 

1958: A high-Q voltage-sensitive variable capacitor was developed with controllable and reproducible properties.  This device is described in patent 2,989,671, for which I am listed as co-inventor.   It was named the Varicap and  sold commercially by PSI.

 

1959: As transistor technology development continued at PSI in 1959, a new approach to increase the high frequency characteristics of transistors was the development of the triple diffused mesa transistor.  This device incorporated a diffused collector region, diffused emitter and base layers, and gold metalized contacts.  Since planar technology had not been invented yet, these devices were separated by etched moats. 

 

1959:  By this time, PSI had many state-of-the-art devices in production.  A brochure from that timeframe contained such products as Fast recovery Silicon Diffusion Computer Diodes, Zener Diodes, Plastic Encapsulated Assemblies, Non-Linear resistors, Silicon General Purpose Diodes, Silicon High Conductance Diodes, Varicap Voltage-Variable Capacitors, Very High Frequency Silicon Power Transistors, Silicon High Voltage Rectifiers, and Silicon Very High Voltage Cartridge Rectifiers

 

 

 

Go To Barnes Oral History, Page 6

 

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