Milestone-Proposal:INVENTION OF SEMICONDUCTOR CRYSTAL DIODE DETECTOR, 1901


To see comments, or add a comment to this discussion, click here.

Docket #:2019-05

This proposal has been submitted for review.


To the proposer’s knowledge, is this achievement subject to litigation? No

Is the achievement you are proposing more than 25 years old? Yes

Is the achievement you are proposing within IEEE’s designated fields as defined by IEEE Bylaw I-104.11, namely: Engineering, Computer Sciences and Information Technology, Physical Sciences, Biological and Medical Sciences, Mathematics, Technical Communications, Education, Management, and Law and Policy. Yes

Did the achievement provide a meaningful benefit for humanity? Yes

Was it of at least regional importance? Yes

Has an IEEE Organizational Unit agreed to pay for the milestone plaque(s)? Yes

Has an IEEE Organizational Unit agreed to arrange the dedication ceremony? Yes

Has the IEEE Section in which the milestone is located agreed to take responsibility for the plaque after it is dedicated? Yes

Has the owner of the site agreed to have it designated as an IEEE Milestone? Yes


Year or range of years in which the achievement occurred:

1901-1902

Title of the proposed milestone:

Semiconductor Crystal Diode Detector, 1901

Plaque citation summarizing the achievement and its significance:

Sir Jagadis Chunder Bose in 1901 invented Semiconductor Crystal Diode Detector that converted electromagnetic signal energy into electronic signal energy, inaugurating revolutionary new era in wireless communications in the twentieth century and beyond. This Invention is described in his British Patents 15,467 and 18,430, both of 1901 and the United States Patent 755,840, issued March 29, 1904.

In what IEEE section(s) does it reside?

CARE OF IIT KHARAGPUR, INDIA, SECTION OF THE IEEE

IEEE Organizational Unit(s) which have agreed to sponsor the Milestone:

IEEE Organizational Unit(s) paying for milestone plaque(s):

Unit: Sir J. C. Bose Memorial Fund (USA) and IEEE Kharagpur Section (India)
Senior Officer Name: Senior officer name masked to public

Unit: Sir J. C. Bose Memorial Fund at Sir J. C. Bose Trust, Kolkata, West Bengal, India
Senior Officer Name: Senior officer name masked to public

IEEE Organizational Unit(s) arranging the dedication ceremony:

Unit: Kharagpur Section (INDIA)
Senior Officer Name: Senior officer name masked to public

IEEE section(s) monitoring the plaque(s):

IEEE Section: Kharagpur Section (INDIA)
IEEE Section Chair name: Section chair name masked to public

Milestone proposer(s):

Proposer name: Proposer's name masked to public
Proposer email: Proposer's email masked to public

Please note: your email address and contact information will be masked on the website for privacy reasons. Only IEEE History Center Staff will be able to view the email address.

Street address(es) and GPS coordinates of the intended milestone plaque site(s):

22.580278 degrees NORTH, 88.373661 degrees EAST

Describe briefly the intended site(s) of the milestone plaque(s). The intended site(s) must have a direct connection with the achievement (e.g. where developed, invented, tested, demonstrated, installed, or operated, etc.). A museum where a device or example of the technology is displayed, or the university where the inventor studied, are not, in themselves, sufficient connection for a milestone plaque.

Please give the address(es) of the plaque site(s) (GPS coordinates if you have them). Also please give the details of the mounting, i.e. on the outside of the building, in the ground floor entrance hall, on a plinth on the grounds, etc. If visitors to the plaque site will need to go through security, or make an appointment, please give the contact information visitors will need. The intended site of the milestone plaque is the home of Professor J. C. Bose from where he regularly conducted much of his epoch-making experiments. This is because of inadequate laboratory space at his teaching institution and lack of adequate infrastructure support from the local British colonial educational authorities in those days. This is well documented in his many letters to American Woman Pioneer Mrs. Sara Chapman Bull.

Are the original buildings extant?

YES

Details of the plaque mounting:

The Plaque will be prominently displayed in the ground floor of the Sir J. C. Bose House which is a heritage building and now being converted into a national science heritage museum. It will be conspicuously along the path of regular visitors inside the house.

How is the site protected/secured, and in what ways is it accessible to the public?

Secured Heritage Site. Open to public in designated hours of the week and by appointment.

Who is the present owner of the site(s)?

Sir J. C. Bose Trust, 93 A.P.C. Road, Kolkata 700009, West Bengal, INDIA

What is the historical significance of the work (its technological, scientific, or social importance)?

This is the first (invented in 1901) of three most important semiconductor devices that defined and revolutionized the twentieth century and beyond in the areas of communications, computers, entertainment electronics and so on. The other two semiconductors device inventions are (ii) transistors (1947) and (iii) Integrated Circuits (1958-1959).

Reliability and sensitivity are two very important features of the semiconductor Devices. Sir J. C. Bose is the world’s first in inventing and patenting the semiconductor crystal diode detector. Sir Bose’s United States Patent (No. 755,840) imported by American Woman Pioneer Mrs. Sara Chapman Bull, is U.S.A.’s first research publication on semiconductor devices. Professor J. C. Bose’s two inventions [Bose Detector (1899) and Semiconductor Crystal Diode Detector (1901)] rendered the mechanically tapped Lodge Coherer (based on Branly radio conduction discovery) obsolete in 1901. This is duly noted in the last sentence of the Edouard Branly radio conduction discovery Milestone announcement (IEEE Milestone No. 102) shown below. The iron-mercury-iron self-restoring coherer (1899) with a telephone is the Bose Detector (name coined by Karl Ludvig Groenhaug of Norway). __________________________________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________________________________ Milestones:Discovery of Radioconduction by Edouard Branly, 1890 Discovery of Radioconduction by Edouard Branly, 1890 In this building, Edouard Branly discovered radioconduction, now called the Branly Effect. On 24 November 1890, he observed that an electromagnetic wave changes the ability of metal filings to conduct electricity. Branly used his discovery to make a very sensitive detector called a coherer, improved versions of which became the first practical wireless signal receivers. The “filings tube” (or coherer) was the first widely used detector for radio communication. The operation of the coherer is based upon the large resistance offered to the passage of electric current by loose metal filings, which decreases under the influence of radio frequency. The coherer became the basis for radio reception, and remained in widespread use for about ten years. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________________

What obstacles (technical, political, geographic) needed to be overcome?

( It was the idea of Miss Margaret Elizabeth Noble (widely known as Sister Nivedita in India) of Wimbledon, Great Britain to introduce Professor J. C. Bose’s invention of semiconductor crystal diode detector of wireless waves, a timeless invention, to the West with these three epoch making patents. Miss Noble was financially supported by American Woman Pioneer Mrs. Sara Chapman Bull of Cambridge, Massachusetts who paid from her personal funds to get Professor Jagadis Chunder Bose’s pioneering inventions patented and recorded in the West (Great Britain and the U.S.A). These two angels were inspired by Indian Philosopher Narendranath Datta. Nobel Laureate (1913) Poet Rabindranath Tagore composed a poem in early 1903 commemorating this and other triumphs of Professor J. C. Bose.

What features set this work apart from similar achievements?

Professor J. C. Bose’s two inventions [Bose Detector (1899) and Semiconductor Crystal Diode Detector (1901)] rendered the mechanically tapped Lodge Coherer (based on Branly radio conduction discovery) obsolete in 1901. This is duly noted in the last sentence of the Edouard Branly radio conduction discovery Milestone announcement (IEEE Milestone No. 102) shown below.

The iron-mercury-iron self-restoring coherer (1899) with a telephone is the Bose Detector (name coined by Karl Ludvig Groenhaug of Norway). __________________________________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________________________________ Milestones: Discovery of Radioconduction by Edouard Branly, 1890

In this building, Edouard Branly discovered radioconduction, now called the Branly Effect. On 24 November 1890, he observed that an electromagnetic wave changes the ability of metal filings to conduct electricity. Branly used his discovery to make a very sensitive detector called a coherer, improved versions of which became the first practical wireless signal receivers. The “filings tube” (or coherer) was the first widely used detector for radio communication. The operation of the coherer is based upon the large resistance offered to the passage of electric current by loose metal filings, which decreases under the influence of radio frequency. The coherer became the basis for radio reception, and remained in widespread use for about ten years. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________________

Supporting texts and citations to establish the dates, location, and importance of the achievement: Minimum of five (5), but as many as needed to support the milestone, such as patents, contemporary newspaper articles, journal articles, or chapters in scholarly books. 'Scholarly' is defined as peer-reviewed, with references, and published. You must supply the texts or excerpts themselves, not just the references. At least one of the references must be from a scholarly book or journal article. All supporting materials must be in English, or accompanied by an English translation.

The following two British patents are the defining documents: (i). The British Patent No. 18,430 (available at the following address) http://worldwide.espacenet.com/publicationDetails/biblio?CC=GB&NR=190118430&KC=&FT=E&locale=en_EP

(ii). The British Patent No. 15,467 (available at the following address) http://worldwide.espacenet.com/publicationDetails/biblio?CC=GB&NR=190115467&KC=&FT=E&locale=en_EP

(iii). The following published paper of 2008 places the two said British patents in correct and accurate historical perspective: TWO RECENTLY DISCOVERED PATENTS OF PROFESSOR JAGADIS CHUNDER BOSE AND INDIA’S FIRST ELECTRONICS TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER TO THE WEST by Probir K. Bondyopadhyay and Suchanda Banerjee, Indian Journal of History of Science,vol. 43.1 (2008), 57-72 https://www.insa.nic.in/writereaddata/UpLoadedFiles/IJHS/Vol43_1_4_PKBondyopadhyay.pdf

The following American Patent establishes the importance of the achievement:

(iv).   The United States Patent No. 755,840   (available at the following address)
       http://www.google.com/patents/US755840

The following recent book excerpt on the origin of infrared detectors further establishes the importance of Sir J. C. Bose’s achievement: (v). Antonio Rogalski, INFRARED DETECTORS, Second Edition, CRC Press, Taylor & Francis Group, Boca Raton, Florida, 2011, ISBN 978-1-4200-7671-4.

“Work on the IR Photovoltaic effect in naturally occurring lead sulfide or galena was announced by Bose in 1904. However this effect was not used in a radiation detector for the next several decades.” in Chapter 2, Infrared Detector Characterization, pp. 23-44, page 23.

Supporting citation: https://www.computerhistory.org/siliconengine/semiconductor-rectifiers-patented-as-cats-whisker-detectors/

                1901: Semiconductor Rectifiers Patented as “Cat’s Whisker” Detectors

Supporting materials (supported formats: GIF, JPEG, PNG, PDF, DOC): All supporting materials must be in English, or if not in English, accompanied by an English translation. You must supply the texts or excerpts themselves, not just the references. For documents that are copyright-encumbered, or which you do not have rights to post, email the documents themselves to ieee-history@ieee.org. Please see the Milestone Program Guidelines for more information.


https://www.computerhistory.org/siliconengine/semiconductor-rectifiers-patented-as-cats-whisker-detectors/

                1901: Semiconductor Rectifiers Patented as “Cat’s Whisker” Detectors

Please email a jpeg or PDF a letter in English, or with English translation, from the site owner(s) giving permission to place IEEE milestone plaque on the property, and a letter (or forwarded email) from the appropriate Section Chair supporting the Milestone application to ieee-history@ieee.org with the subject line "Attention: Milestone Administrator." Note that there are multiple texts of the letter depending on whether an IEEE organizational unit other than the section will be paying for the plaque(s).