EARLY TRANSISTOR HISTORY AT RCA

Gerald B. Herzog

Oral History – Jerry Herzog

(Continued)

Oral History – Jerry Herzog

(Continued)

 

RCA Develops the First Commercial CMOS Integrated Circuits.

 

During the Air Force contract on LSI, we were also asked if we would work on trying to make the CMOS circuitry radiation hard.  This led to our radiation hard work at our semiconductor Division at Somerville, under my supervision, and also our work on Silicon on Sapphire at RCA Labs and ultimately also at Somerville.   Charlie Mueller had pioneered working with Silicon on Sapphire with wafers the size of a dime, but eventually through the laboratories efforts we were able to grow larger boules of sapphire, with wafers of one or two inches in diameter for our later work.  Meanwhile the work on complementary symmetry memories continued at Somerville, leading to several NASA contracts on logic circuits to be used in space applications.  During this time I was giving papers and making presentations on complementary MOS circuitry, but most people felt that there was little need for such low power circuitry except for such applications as space and that there would be very little commercial application for complementary circuits.   In 1967 I gave a presentation to the IC product line manager at Somerville suggesting that RCA should introduce a line of logic circuits with CMOS.  I was asked, “Well, how big is the CMOS logic market?”,  and of course I had to answer that there was no market and we would have to create it.  Fortunately, however, the increased emphasis of NASA on complementary logic got the semiconductor division to introduce a line of CMOS circuitry, and that was the beginning of the CMOS era. 

 

 

 

 

Developing the RCA 1802 Microprocessor.

 

Later, when RCA went out of the computer business, I took over a group from the computer laboratory that had been doing some computer research with integrated circuits.  One of the individuals, Joe Weisbecker, had actually built a small microcomputer at home with TTL logic. This was at the time when Intel had introduced its first microprocessor.  I asked my design people to work with Joe Weisbecker to implement his design in complementary MOS circuitry, and that was the beginning of the 1802 microprocessor.

 

Not only was the 1802 microprocessor used in space applications, but I had a group at the laboratory that won a contract at Chrysler to develop a microprocessor control for their lean-burn engine system.  This was in the early days of trying to improve gasoline mileage.  Both Texas Instruments and my group at RCA had the contract with Chrysler, but my group was the only one that was able to drive a car to Detroit with the microprocessor engine control in place.

 

 

Retiring From RCA.

 

I left RCA in 1979, after realizing that they were not going to invest in promoting the Semiconductor Operation and were more interested in putting video information on a vinyl disc. 

                

Go To Herzog Oral History, Page 7

 

 

 

 

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