The element germanium used to be a popular semiconductor (it was present in the first revolutionary prototype transistor built in the 1940s), but today, the most common semiconductor is silicon. Silicon is chosen for several reasons: It's plentiful; it's stable; and it can endure very hot conditions.
Developed and debuted by Gordon Teal of the then-startup Texas Instruments in 1954 at a conference for the Institute of Radio Engineers, the first silicon transistors were ready to hit the market shortly thereafter.
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