Timeline of silicon
This is a timeline of silicon, attempting to describe historic events in the scientific development of the chemical element and also its industrial application.
|Time period||Development summary|
|Ancient history||The use of silicon in agriculture probably begins in China more than 2000 years ago, with farmers at that time incorporating rice straw along with manure as a fertilizer to enhance plant performance and yield. silicon is familiar to the predynastic Egyptians, who use it for beads and small vases. It is also familiar to the early Chinese, and probably to many others of the ancients.|
|19th century||The element silicon is discovered.|
|20th century||In the early 1900s, silicon is recognized as one of the 15 elements needed for plant life. Research pursuing the role of silicon as a nutrient for different crops begins early in the century.|
|1950s<||The great historic leap in the application of silicon occurs in the field of electronics, as silicon becomes the industry’s preferred material in the transistor industry. In the 1980s, a result of research, silicon’s potential to decrease the intensity of many plant diseases is discovered for a large number of plant species.|
|Present time||As of 2009, ferrosilicon accounted for about four-fifths of world silicon production. Silicon has achieved its biggest success as an electronic switch, with more than a million trillion transistors being made each year.|
|1500 BC||Application||Egyptians and Phoenicians manufacture glass containing silica.||Egypt|
|1787||Scientific development||French chemist Antoine Lavoisier first identifies silicon.||France|
|1811||Scientific development||French chemists Joseph Louis Gay-Lussac and Louis Jacques Thénard react silicon tetrachloride with potassium metal and produce some very impure form of silicon.||France|
|1824||Scientific development||Swedish chemist Jöns Jacob Berzelius discovers silicon by heating chips of potassium in a silica container and then carefully washing away the residual by-products.||Sweden|
|1854||Scientific development||French chemist Henri Étienne Sainte-Claire Deville first prepares crystaline silicon, the second allotropic form of the element.||France|
|1857||Scientific development||Henri Étienne Sainte-Claire Deville and German chemist Friedrich Wöhler discover silicon nitride.|
|1891 – 1893||Application||American chemist Edward Goodrich Acheson discovers a method for making an industrial abrasive composed of silicon carbide, which Acheson would patent in 1893 and name it carborundum.||United States|
|1893||Application||Silicon carbide (SiC) starts being produced in powder form for use as an abrasive.||United States|
|1899||Technology||The modern type of furnace used to make silicon, the electric arc furnace, is invented by French inventor Paul Héroult to make steel.||France|
|1901||Scientific development||The word "silicone" was first used by English chemist Frederick Kipping.|
|1904||Organization||Norwegian company Elkem is founded by industrial entrepreneur Sam Eyde. It is one of the world’s leading providers of silicones and silicon solutions.||Norway|
|1907||Scientific development||Electroluminescence is first discovered using silicon carbide light emitting diodes (LEDs).|
|1917||Application (agriculture)||The potential of silicon to reduce blast on rice is first reported by a plant chemist. This discovery would trigger a cascade of silicon research in Japan.|
|1930s||Scientific development||United States chemical giant DuPont intensively investigates silicon as an alternative to lead-based pigments in white paint.||United States|
|1939||Application (agriculture)||The role of silicon in plant growth and potential disease reduction is first noted for dicots.|
|1940||Application (electronics)||American engineer Russell Ohl discovers the p-n junction and photovoltaic effects in silicon that would lead to the development of junction transistors and solar cells.||United States|
|1941||Application||Techniques for producing high purity germanium and silicon crystals are developed for wartime radar microwave detectors.|
|1948 – 1952||Application||American Carborundum Company applies for several patents on the manufacture and application of silicon nitride.|
|1954||Application (electronics)||American engineer Gordon Kidd Teal develops a working silicon transistor.||United States|
|1954 – 1955||Application (electronics)||The first working silicon transistor is developed at Bell Labs by Morris Tanenbaum.||United States|
|1955||Application (electronics)||American technology company Texas Instruments creates the first commercial, mass-produced silicon transistor.||United States|
|1955||Application (electronics)||Photolithography techniques are used to make silicon devices. Jules Andrus and Walter Bond at Bell Labs adapt photoengraving techniques from printing technology to enable precise etching of diffusion "windows" in silicon wafers.||United States|
|1955||Application (electronics)||Development of Oxide Masking. Carl Frosch and Lincoln Derick at Bell Labs grow a silicon dioxide film on wafers to protect their surface and allow controlled diffusion into the underlying silicon.||United States|
|1956||Application (electronics)||Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory –a pioneering semiconductor developer founded by American physicist William Shockley, develops Northern California's first prototype silicon devices while training young engineers and scientists for the future Silicon Valley.||United States|
|1958||Application (electronics)||Silicon transistors replace germanium transistors, which break down at high temperatures.|
|1958||Application (electronics)||American company Fairchild Semiconductor produces double-diffused silicon mesa transistors to meet demanding aerospace applications.||United States|
|1958||Application (electronics)||A double-diffused silicon mesa transistor is introduced.|
|1960||Application (electronics)||Silicon transistors appear in the product market.|
|1961||Application (electronics)||American computer architect Seymour Cray funds development of the first silicon device to meet the performance demands of the world's fastest machine.||United States|
|1968||Application (electronics)||Federico Faggin and Tom Klein improve the reliability, packing density, and speed of MOS integrated circuits with a silicon-gate structure. Faggin designs the first commercial silicon-gate, the Fairchild 3708.|
|1971||Application (electronics)||Silicon-gate process technology and design advances integrates computer central processing units (CPU) onto single chips.|
|1974||Application (electronics)||The Microma liquid crystal display (LCD) digital watch becomes the first product to integrate a complete electronic system onto a single silicon chip, called System on a chip or SOC.||United States|
|1980 – 1995||Consumption||The annual growth rate for the period is about 3.5% for silicon demand by the aluminum industry and about 8% by the chemical industry. Demand by the chemical industry (mainly silicones) would be affected by the Asian economic crisis of the late 1990s.|
|1999||Production||World production of silicon in the year stands at around 640,000 metric tons (excluding China), with Brazil, France, Norway and the United States as major producers. This is a continued decline compared to the previous years (653,000 tons in 1998 and 664,000 in 1997). Though data is not available, China is believed to be the largest producer, followed by the United States.|
|2009||Production||Ferrosilicon accounts for about four-fifths of world silicon production in the year. In the same year, solar-grade silicon production of about 88,000 tonnes is reported, with China producing about 20% of the world demand.|
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