The point-contact transistor: A revolution begins

John M. Dallesasse, Robert B. Kaufman

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The 16 December 1947 discovery of the first transistor, the point-contact transistor, by John Bardeen and Walter Brattain marked a pivotal moment in the electronics revolution. In this work, in honor of the 75th Anniversary of its invention, a historical perspective of the point-contact transistor is revisited, and replica devices are fabricated and explored. Within this, a review of past understandings of the operation of the point-contact transistor is presented. Various versions of a point-contact transistor are made and fabricated, with reference to historical methods, and performance metrics are compared across variations in contact types, contact separation, and forming methods. The best-performing replica point-contact transistor was able to demonstrate the transistor effect and positive alpha gain, but did not quite match the performance of the first published transistor. The challenges in approaching the original performance in the replica devices further underlines the dedication and conviction that Bardeen and Brattain had, fueled by their theoretical and practical knowledge, in making the groundbreaking discovery of the first transistor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication75th Anniversary of the Transistor
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9781394202478
ISBN (Print)9781394202447
StatePublished - May 3 2023


  • 75th anniversary of the transistor
  • First transistor
  • Point-contact transistor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering


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