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La revolució silenciosa exhibition

La revolució silenciosa exhibition traces the 75-year history of the transistor, to which digital society owes its raison d'être. This electronic device functions as a switch that lets current pass through and is integrated into the chips that make up cell phones, hearing aids and electronic devices everywhere. Here you can read the content of the exhibition in English, Catalan or Spanish.

Many consider the transistor to be the greatest invention of the 20th century

The technological revolution of the last decades has a silent and unknown protagonist: the transistor. Many experts consider it to be the most important invention of the 20th century, essential for understanding the development of microelectronics, miniaturization and the digitalization processes of our society. The transistor is a three-terminal semiconductor electronic device used to deliver an amplified output signal in response to an input signal. Have you ever wondered how many electronic devices you use every day? And how many transistors? The adventure begins in 1947...

In 1947, the amplifying effect of a germanium semiconductor device, the point-contact transistor, was demonstrated

The rapid development of microelectronics began after World War II. AT&T had a research group headed by William Shockley at the Bell Labs facility in Murray Hill, USA. On December 16, 1947, physicists John Bardeen and Walter H. Brattain succeeded for the first time in demonstrating the amplifying effect of a germanium semiconductor device, the point-contact transistor. Months later, Shockley devised a much improved type of transistor: the junction bipolar transistor. All three won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1956 for this work.

Chips or integrated circuits are small pieces of silicon that integrate millions of interconnected transistors

Although initially conceived as an analog amplifier device, its use as a switch, blocking or allowing the electric current to circulate, made it possible to physically specify the '1' and '0' of binary logic. Today, the microprocessor chips and memories found in the vast majority of the equipment we use every day, integrate millions of these devices interconnected with each other in small rectangular pieces of silicon that we call integrated circuits or chips.

The IMB-CNM houses the Micro and Nanofabrication Clean Room, unique in southern Europe, where silicon chips can be manufactured!

The adventure of the Institute of Microelectronics of Barcelona (IMB), created in 1985 and headquarters of the National Microelectronics Center (CNM), is linked to the discovery of the transistor. It is located in Cerdanyola del Vallès and has a 1,500 m² Clean Room (with the category of Unique Scientific and Technical Infrastructure, ICTS) where silicon chips can be manufactured, which has allowed the development of research lines in micro- and nanotechnologies. We hope to participate many more years in this adventure that still has many things to say!