The Coaxial Transistor
WINSTON E. KOGK R. L. WALLACE, JR.
HE TRANSISTOR isa semiconductor amplifier using two point contactspressing against a smallblock of germanium. It hasbeen described by J. Bardeenand W. H. Brattain.
Whenthe two point contacts areplaced close together on the surface, and proper biaspotentials are applied, there is a mutual influence betweenone contact, called the "emitter," and the other, calledthe "collector," which makes it possible to use the deviceto amplify electric signals.Shortly after the discovery of the transistor, J. N. Shiveof the Bell Telephone Laboratories observed that amplification also could be obtained with a germanium wedgewhen the emitter and collector points were placed onopposite sides of the wedge.
In this construction thegermanium wedge is narrowed down to
sharp edge andthe point contacts are placed on opposite sides at
pointwhere the wedge is only a few thousandths of an inch thick.
(3)\ GERMANIUM. CRYSTAL (l)
SPRING POINT /SPRING WASHER (2)
Figure 1. Cutaway view of first experimental coaxial transistorThe success of this unit led to the exploration of otherforms of such amplifiers, one of which will be described
Investigation of the wedge device seemed to indicatethat the current passing between emitter and collectoractually was passing through the semiconductor and notaround the wedge surface. Thus the effect was apparentlynot a surface phenomenon but rather a current amplification process occurring within the semiconductor
If this were true, transistor action also should be possibleby reproducing the wedge geometry in circularly symmetrical form, thereby providing complete shielding betweenemitter and collector points. These considerations, whentaken into account led to the development of the coaxialtransistor.CONSTRUCTIONA disk of germanium, one-eighth inch in diameter and20 mils thick, was cut from
thin slab of germanium bymeans of a hole saw. Two dish-shaped depressions wereground and lapped into thefaces of the disk by means ofa spherical tool. The germanium wafer was placed in amount shown in Figure 1and held in place by springpressure. In the cutawayview shown in Figure 1, (7)indicates the germanium disk, and (2) the spring washer,and the point contacts are seen to press against oppositesides of the disk. Most of the parts in this assembly arestandard piece-parts used in the manufacture of singlepoint rectifiers. For the experimental models, the insulating portions,
in Figure 1, were made of lucite forease of fabrication. A photograph of this construction isshown in Figure 2 with the individual components spreadout for observation.The germanium disk, normally grounded electrically,is seen to provide an electrostatic shield between theemitter and collector points, and all three parts—emitterpoint, collector point, and germanium disk—are seen tobe coaxial.PROCESSING PROCEDUREIt was found experimentally that high polish of the activesurfaces of the germanium allowed the passage of highercollector currents before burnout occurred. Therefore,the spherical surfaces were polished with a very fine gradeof diamond lapping compound and followed with an elec-tropolish operation. Where maximum current capacityis not required, the usual transistor treatment of etchingand later electrically forming the collector point by passing
Full text of conference paper, "The Coaxial Transistor," recommended by the AIEEtechnical program committee for presentation at the AIEE winter general meeting,New York, N. Y., January 31-February 4, 1949.
Winston E. Kock
R. L. Wallace, Jr.
are with the Bell Telephone Laboratories,
Murray Hill, N. J.The authors wish to acknowledge the aid of their associates. They particularly areindebted to J. N. Shive and R. A. Ehrhardt.
Figure 2. Exploded view of model in Figure
of the earlier types of transistors ledto the exploration of other forms of similar ampli-fiers, one of which is the coaxial transistor. Adescription of its construction, characteristics,and many advantages are contained in thisarticle.
The Coaxial Transistor