James M. Early

James M. Early ( born July 25, 1922 in Syracuse, New York, † January 12, 2004 in Palo Alto, California ) was an American electrical engineer. He was known for his work in the field of semiconductor development, in particular by the eponymous Early effect in transistors.


James M. Early was born in Syracuse in the United States as the second of nine siblings. He studied first at the New York State College of Forestry in his hometown and where he gained 1943 Bachelor of Science in pulp and paper production. While serving in the U.S. Army, he learned at Ohio State University electrical engineering know and appreciate, so that he then enrolled there as a full-time student, in 1948 the Master of Science degree earned and the study in 1951 and graduated with a successful promotion.

In September 1951, he began working at Bell Labs in Murray Hill, New Jersey. Over the next 18 years at Bell, he studied the theoretical basis for the production of bipolar transistors, discovered the change in the space charge region width, known as the Early effect, developed transistors and solar cells for the first satellite and was instrumental in the development of the first integrated circuits (IC ) involved.

In September 1969, he left as director of semiconductor devices Laboratories in Allentown (Pennsylvania) Bell Labs and started as head of research and development at Fairchild Semiconductor. Under his leadership and his personal involvement here many new techniques have been developed, including:

  • The bipolar Isoplanar process in semiconductor technology,
  • The prototype of the first semiconductor memory,
  • The " buried- channel" technology for CCD photosensors that significantly improved their possible use in difficult lighting conditions,
  • The prototypes of the CMOS IC Series 4000C in 15 - volt technology,
  • The ECL IC Series 100K.

Under his leadership placed Fairchild in 1970 as the first semiconductor manufacturer with an ion implanter and 1977, the first commercially available system for electron beam lithography, a MEBES -1 of Etec Systems, a. From 1983, Early worked only as a technical advisor to then withdraw in 1986 from professional life in the course of which he has published numerous technical articles and received 14 patents.

James Early died at the age of 81 years, leaving a wife, a son and seven daughters.


  • Effects of space -charge layer widening in junction transistors. In: Proceedings of the IRE. 40, 1952, pp. 1401-1406.


For his early results has been awarded several times:

Early was among other things a Fellow of the IEEE, a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, member of the American Physical Society, Sigma Xi and of a number of committees.