Warren Palmer Waters authored and co-authored several early patents for devices and processes that contributed to the advancement of the integrated circuit. He was a pioneer in the field of solid state engineering. He was instrumental in developing new solid state technologies for telecommunication satellites. Warren P. Waters was the inventor of the first germanium/gallium alloy transistor in the 1950’s. Warren Waters invented the silicon wafer, which was used in the fabrication of the earliest integrated circuits. He also made critical advancements in the field of the miniaturization of integrated circuits. He was also the inventor of the first gold and silicon bonded Schottky barrier diode for the Surveyor Project. Warren Waters designed and wrote the patent for the first calculator at Texas Instruments, which was later submitted to the patent office by other scientists there.
The circuit designs of Warren Palmer Waters helped to make for the smooth landing of the first unmanned spacecraft to the Moon, which was called The Surveyor Project. He made advancements in infrared technologies. He helped to develop masking and doping processes with the silicon chip that enhanced the purity, hence a greater yield rate was possible. One of his last projects was working towards a one megabyte computer chip, which was later completed by other scientists. It was the solid state research of Warren P. Waters that laid the groundwork for many of the computer technologies that we have today.
Warren Waters was the Manager of their Exploratory Development, Semiconductor Research and the Development Laboratory during the four years he was at Texas Instruments. He knew Jack Kilby very well, as Kilby was his boss. While he was at TI, he worked on MOS processing (Metal Oxide Semiconductors). The chip doping, he helped develop at TI, was the photographic process of putting circuitry onto silicone chips. When done, they could cut them into smaller pieces and use them in all electronics. He was an expert in chip miniaturization and these photo etching processes. They are making chips smaller and smaller now. He was also an expert on crystals, and wrote his Masters Thesis on their properties and applications.
His life work was perfecting the process of making pure silicone chips for the manufacture of integrated circuit chips. Warren Waters’ major contribution was the process of purifying the silicone, which was done while the large inverted carrot shaped crystal of silicone was still molten. Waters devised a way to run two magnets down the length of the silicone crystal to pull the impurities to the bottom. They would then cut this impure portion right off. After this, they cut the crystal with a lathe to make it perfectly round, then into wafers and began the whole photographic resist process to apply circuitry. He worked on the perfecting and making of pure crystals. Any impurity would or could cause the circuit to malfunction. These silicon chips were used in building some of the first calculators, but later went into the first video games such as Atari and Pong. They were used in many other devices including computers, copy machines, TV’s and phones. Now this technology is in almost every electronic device we use. The MOS processing techniques, which Warren Waters invented and perfected, changed the world.
Much later, he invited me to see his work, and showed me their “Clean Room” at Rockwell International where he worked, and the white suits that they wore. He explained a lot of the process, and showed me some of the ladies at work on various stages of this process. I also got a chance to see some of the early electron microscopes that they had there.
When Warren Waters went back to Hughes Aircraft in 1966, Texas Instruments had to remove his name from the MOS processing and calculator patents that were in progress. The MOS patent went to another team member, Allen-Bradley in 1969. Ironically, after the calculator and MOS techniques came out, Texas Instruments was challenged by Japanese firms in epic battles over various copy rights relating to early IC processes. Kilby and Merryman spent years in court giving endless depositions. They were even called to testify before a special committee in Washington D.C. Meanwhile, Warren Waters had gone back to Hughes Aircraft, and was busy working on the Surveyor Project. This makes us wonder if there was not some sort of divine providence involved in his decision to go back to Hughes.
He had many top secret clearances, including Q for energy. Warren Waters worked for many US government contracted aerospace industries including Hughes Aircraft, Texas Instruments, Rockwell International, and Western Digital.