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In 1930, he joined Bell Telephone Laboratories, where his early assignment involved materials for television components, and, during World War II, high-performance rectifiers for radar systems. Working near the transistor development group at Bell Labs, Gordon soon recognized the significance of the transistor, which would also give him an opportunity to work with his favorite element, germanium. Initially his appeals for using single crystals of germanium for transistor fabrication were met with little interest. Eventually, however, he convinced his supervisors to allow him to work on the growth of single crystals, but only after normal working hours. Because of a shortage of laboratory space, Gordon and his colleague, John Little, had to mount their crystal-growing equipment on wheels so it could be rolled into a closet when they finished their experiments each night.

Crystals grown in the Teal-Little “puller” dramatically improved electronic properties in comparison with conventional polycrystalline crystals. The absence of grain boundaries decreased the trapping of charge carriers, and the single-crystal growth process itself further purified the germanium. After the demonstration of enhanced performance and reproducibility in transistors fabricated from single crystals, Bell Labs established an entire group devoted to growing semiconductor crystals. Gordon and another colleague, Morgan Sparks, later developed the double-doping technique that led to the creation of the junction transistor.

In 1952, Gordon returned to Texas as director of the first research department at Texas Instruments (TI), where he assembled a group of talented scientists and engineers to work toward the development of silicon transistors. At the time it was generally recognized throughout the infant semiconductor industry that silicon would be a superior material to germanium for transistors. Unfortunately, silicon crystals were difficult to grow, but Gordon’s perseverance paid off again, and the group succeeded in producing them. Gordon announced the breakthrough at the 1954 meeting of the Institute of Radio Engineers in Dayton, Ohio, where he demonstrated the superior temperature tolerance of silicon

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