Bernard N. Slade

Oral History – Bob Slade (Continued)


Evolution of 1950s RCA Point Contact Transistors



In addition to point contact work, Bob was also involved in developing prototype germanium alloy power transistors.  This work was done in 1954 when Bob was assigned to the RCA labs in Princeton.  Shown above is a 1954 prototype developed by Bob – this type of transistor led to the development of the first all solid-state “Hi-Fi” audio amplifier by H.C. Lin.  [4].


This above photo illustrates the evolution of the RCA point contact transistors, from developmental prototypes to commercial quality.  The leftmost unit, a TA166, is from the 1949/1950 timeframe and represents the earliest point contact technology developed by Bob Slade and the Semiconductor Advanced Development group.  These early devices were hand-built with each unit individually labeled and serialized.  The case was constructed from an amber colored plastic epoxy (Araldite).  Later units were had epoxy cases colored with a white pigment, although the overall appearance remained rough and hand-built.        The proprietary “TA” labeling sequence was used for the early experimental/developmental units, and this was superceded by the industry standard “2N” sequence when the devices were offered for commercial sale.  This occurred in 1953, with the 2N32 and 2N33 devices.   By 1955,  junction technology had replaced the point contact types and this line of transistors, both for further research and for commercialization, was obsolete at RCA.  The rightmost unit, a metal cased, hermetically sealed 2N32A, represents the final level of commercial quality for RCA point contact technology.  These first commercial point contact transistors were very expensive, with the 2N33 listed for $23 in the 1954 Allied Radio catalog.   





Go To Slade Oral History, Page 7




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