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The most difficult part of Grown-junction transistor

Dec 13, 2016

The most difficult part of this process is welding the gold wire to the base layer, as the wire may have a larger diameter than the thickness of the base. To facilitate this operation, the gold wire is pointed or flattened until the end is thinner than the base layer. The tip of the gold wire is slid along the bar until electrical resistance measurement shows it is in contact with the base layer. At this time a pulse of current is applied, welding the wire in place. Unfortunately sometimes the weld is too large or slightly off center in the base layer. To avoid shorting the transistor, the gold wire is alloyed with a small amount of the same type dopant as used in the base. This causes the base layer to become slightly thicker at the point of the weld.
Grown-junction transistors rarely operated at frequencies above the audio range, due to their relatively thick base layers. Growing thin base layers was very hard to control and welding the wire to the base became harder the thinner it got. Higher-frequency operation could be obtained by welding a second wire on the opposite side of the base, making a tetrode transistor, and using special biasing on this second base connection.