The semiconductor silicon is the key element of today's computer chip industry. The industry's growth has been extraordinary, with usable silicon transistors first appearing only in the 1950's. The first ever transistor-developed in 1947 the Nobel laureates (physics, 1956) William B Shockley, John Bardeen and Walter Brattain-was made not of silicon but from the semiconductor germanium. In recent years this and other compounds have again attracted the interest of scientists seeking solutions that will enable them to develop even faster and more powerful chips in the future. Incidentally, more transistors are produced than any other component. In 2002 alone, more than 1000billion were manufactured.
Almost 100% pure silicon is used in the production of microchips.