MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.--Some of the semiconductor industry's most influential engineers and designers were honored Saturday at the 37th annual National Inventors Hall of Fame ceremony. The black-tie gala, thrown by the nonprofit Invent Now, took place at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Calif.
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Computer History Museum
This year's induction class of 10 living and 5 deceased inventors represents advances related to or enabled by the integrated circuit, in honor of the technology's 50th anniversary.
Dawon Kahng, who's being inducted into the hall of fame here, developed a process called "surface passivation," where a silicon wafer is coated with an insulating layer of silicon oxide, allowing electricity to reliably penetrate to the conducting silicon below, according to hall of fame host Invent Now. Now referred to as MOSFET, the process is widely used in the semiconductor industry.
By bombarding silicon with ionized atoms, and thereby changing their electrical conductivity, inductee Kenneth Manchester helped design the first ion implantation apparatus for producing integrated circuits on a commercial scale, according to Invent Now's National Inventors Hall of Fame materials.
Hall of fame inductee Larry Hornbeck invented the Digital Micromirror Device, an array of up to 2 million hinged microscopic aluminum mirrors on a silicon chip, according to Invent Now materials. These tiny mirrors tilt thousands of times a second, projecting light through a lens and onto a screen and forming the basis for modern imaging technology, according to Invent Now.
Nonvolatile erasable memory, technology used in MP3 players, cell phones, and digital cameras, was a concept pioneered by hall of famer Dov Frohman-Bentchkowsky. He invented a computer chip that could be erased by exposing it to ultraviolet light, then have new data written onto it, according to Invent Now.
Inductee Gordon Moore was the co-founder of both Fairchild Semiconductor and Intel, and the author of Moore's Law, which famously states that the number of transistors that can be mass-manufactured on an integrated circuit will double every two years, according to Invent Now.
Carver Mead, accepting his award, is the chip designer who developed ideas, standards, and tools that permitted tens of thousands of transistors to be packaged on a single silicon chip--what is known as very large-scale integration, or VLSI, according to Invent Now.
Intel President and CEO Paul Otellini chats with former hall of famer Jim Wynne, left, who co-invented a process using a short pulse ultraviolet laser to etch tissue in minute increments, most notably used for LASIK eye surgery.
Inductee Alfred Cho developed the process by which materials are layered on top of one another atom-by-atom in a vacuum, which formed devices like transistors and light-emitting diodes, or lasers, Invent Now said.
In the late 1960s, Ted Hoff, shown here, was the first to recognize that Intel's new silicon-gated MOS technology might make a single-chip CPU possible, according to Invent Now's ceremony materials. Hoff developed such an architecture with just over 2,000 transistors, Invent Now said.