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Kenneth E. Manchester

  • Born: March 22, 1925, Winona, Minnesota
  • Died: November 10, 2014, Metro Manila, Philippines

  Interview Details

Interview no.: 0296
Interview Date: October 13, 2004
Location: New Hope, Pennsylvania
Interviewer: Christophe Lécuyer
No. of pages: 50
Sponsor: Chemical History of Electronics
Chemical History of Electronics

  Abstract of Interview

Kenneth E. Manchester was drafted after high school to serve in World War II and later attended San Jose State University. Manchester then completed a Ph.D. in chemistry at Stanford University under the supervision of George S. Parks and worked as a postdoctoral fellow under Eric Hutchinson for three years. Manchester joined the surface chemistry group at Shell Development Company in 1955 and moved to Sprague Electric Company in 1962. At Sprague, he directed a research group that pioneered in the development of ion implantation, a key process in the manufacture of integrated circuits. Manchester later headed semiconductor research at Sprague before serving as director of quality assurance and reliability. He concludes the interview with thoughts on the need for chemists in semiconductor development.


1949 A.B., Chemistry, San Jose State College
1950 M.S., Chemistry, Stanford University
1955 Ph.D., Thermochemistry, Stanford University

  Professional Experience

Stanford University

1952 - 1955 Fellow in Chemistry

Shell Development Company

1955 - 1962 Surface Chemist

Sprague Electric Company

1962 - 1963 Section Head of Semiconductor Chemistry

Sprague Electric Company

1963 - 1969 Department Head of Semiconductor Chemistry

Sprague Electric Company

1969 - 1976 Director of Semiconductor Research and Development

Sprague Electric Company

1976 - 1979 Chief Scientist

Sprague Electric Company

1979 - 1985 Director of Semiconductor Quality Assurance and Reliability

Sprague Electric Company

1985 - 1989 Corporate Vice President, Research Development and Engineering

Allegro Microsystems, Incorporated

1989 - 1996 Consultant


1948 Scholarship award, top ten highest grade point averages at San Jose State College
1949 Member, Key Club of Phi Beta Kappa Faculty Club, San Jose State College
1961 Member, Optimist Club of Concord, California
1984 Sprague-Worcester Major Achievement Award, Sprague Electric Company
1984 Employee of the Year, Sprague Electric Company
1985 Commendation from Vice President of Integrated Circuits Operation, Sprague Electric Company
1985 Sprague Fellow, Sprague Electric Company
1988 Biographical record, Electronics Buyers News, September edition
1993 Biographical record, Who's Who in the World

  Table of Contents

Title and Description Page

Education and Military Service 1

Childhood. Influence of early teachers. Military service. Marriage. College education at Santa Clara University. Graduate work at Stanford University. Eric Hutchinson. Innovation in equipment design.

Shell Development Company 12

Surface chemistry group. Instrumentation.

Sprague Electric Company 14

Semiconductor development. Ion implantation. Collaboration with Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Ion implantation system. Collaboration with MOSTEK Corporation. Operating through labor strike. Kurt Lehovec. Complementary metal oxide semiconductor. Hall sensor. Relationship between Sprague Electric Company and MOSTEK Corporation. Implanted resistor.

Sprague Electric Company in Worcester, Massachusetts 40

Quality assurance. Relationship to IBM Corporation. Hall element patent.

Conclusion 42

Importance of chemical education in semiconductor work.

  About the Interviewer

Christophe Lécuyer

Christophe Lécuyer is a graduate of the École Normale Supérieure in Paris, and he received a Ph.D. in history from Stanford University. He was a fellow of the Dibner Institute for the History of Science and Technology and has taught at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, and the University of Virginia. Before becoming a senior research fellow at CHF, Lécuyer was the program manager of the electronic materials department. He has published widely on the history of electronics, engineering education, and medical and scientific instruments, and is the author of Making Silicon Valley: Innovation and the Growth of High Tech, 1930–1970 (2005).

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