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Solid-State Electronics

  1. Mar 23, 2011 #1
    I have wondered, why do non - solid-state electronics typically precede solid-state in the history of development? The two main reasons that I have thought of are limited knowledge of physical phenomena, and limitations in other technology used to construct the device (e.g., involving small tolerances). Any thoughts and specific examples?
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 23, 2011 #2


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    I think tubes when you say non-solid state. Check out how they came about.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fleming_valve" [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
  4. Mar 23, 2011 #3
    Not just traditional "vacuum tubes" but also incandescent lightbulbs (vs. LEDs), GM tubes (vs. semiconductor detectors), scan converter tubes (vs. high-speed semiconductor ADCs), mechanical cooling devices (vs. Peltier cooling devices), etc.
  5. Mar 23, 2011 #4
    You should also look at


    to understand the basic theory of vacuum tube amplifiers (thermionic emission, space charge, etc). All the equations were written down in the early 1900's (or before). The first transistor was built in about 1948 (Bardeen, Shockley, Brattain), but the transistor did not appear in most electronics until 1960. (Bardeen won another Nobel Prize for superconductivity). The transistor was followed by integrated circuits in the 1960's.

    GM detectors, ion chambers, and proportional counters were developed in the early 1900's. They generally required amplifiers to work properly. Bethe and Bloch developed the dE/dx ionization energy loss equation in the mid 1930's. Before these, people observed scintillation of alphas hitting zinc sulfide screens with microscopes (Rutherford), and tracks in cloud chambers. Photographic emulsions were in common use in the 1930's, 1940's and 1950's. In the early 1950's, Sodium iodide scintillators and photomultipliers were developed. Silicon and GeLi solid state particle detectors were developed in the early 1960's.

    Bob S
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