mohamed m. atalla
محمد محمد عطاالله
mohamed mohamed atalla
mohamed atalla as director of semiconductor research at hp associates
|born||august 4, 1924|
|died||december 30, 2009 (aged 85)|atherton
, united states
|other names||m. m. atalla |
"martin" m. atalla
"john" m. atalla
|education||cairo university (bsc) |
purdue university (msc, phd)
|known for||mosfet (mos transistor) |
pmos and nmos
mos integrated circuit
hardware security module
|discipline||mechanical engineering |
|institutions||bell labs |
|awards||national inventors hall of fame |
stuart ballantine medal
it honor roll
mohamed mohamed atalla (arabic: محمد محمد عطاالله; august 4, 1924 – december 30, 2009) was an egyptian–american engineer, physical chemist, cryptographer, inventor and entrepreneur. his pioneering work in semiconductor technology laid the foundations for modern electronics. most importantly, his invention of the mosfet (metal–oxide–semiconductor field-effect transistor, or mos transistor) in 1959, along with his earlier surface passivation and thermal oxidation processes (the basis for silicon semiconductor technology such as the monolithic integrated circuit chip), revolutionized the electronics industry. he is also known as the founder of the data security company atalla corporation (now utimaco atalla), founded in 1972, which introduced the first hardware security module and was a pioneer in online security. he received the stuart ballantine medal (now the benjamin franklin medal in physics) and was inducted into the national inventors hall of fame for his important contributions to semiconductor technology as well as data security.
born in port said, egypt, he was educated at cairo university in egypt and then purdue university in the united states, before joining bell labs in 1949 and later adopting the more anglicized "john" or "martin" m. atalla as professional names. he made a series of breakthroughs in semiconductor technology during 1956–1962, starting with his development of the surface passivation and thermal oxidation processes (the basis for silicon semiconductor technologies such as the planar process and monolithic integrated circuit chips), followed by his invention of the mosfet (with dawon kahng) in 1959, then the pmos and nmos fabrication processes, his proposal of the mos integrated circuit chip in 1960, and the demonstration of nanolayer transistors and practical schottky diodes. atalla's pioneering work at bell laid the foundations for modern electronics, the silicon revolution, and the digital revolution. the mosfet in particular is the basic building block of modern electronics, and is considered to be possibly the most important invention in electronics. it is also the most widely manufactured device in history, and the us patent and trademark office calls it a "groundbreaking invention that transformed life and culture around the world".
his invention of the mosfet was initially overlooked at bell, which led to him resigning from bell and joining hewlett-packard (hp), founding its semiconductor lab in 1962 and then hp labs in 1966, before leaving to join fairchild semiconductor, founding its microwave & optoelectronics division in 1969. his work at hp and fairchild included further research on schottky diodes, in addition to research on gallium arsenide (gaas), gallium arsenide phosphide (gaasp), indium arsenide (inas) and light-emitting diode (led) technologies, contributing to the development of high-frequency network analyzers, developing the first practical led displays, and proposing led optical readers.
he later left the semiconductor industry, and became an entrepreneur in cryptography, data security and cybersecurity. in 1972, he founded atalla corporation, and filed a patent for a remote pin security system over telecommunications networks, a precursor to telephone banking, internet security and e-commerce. in 1973, he released the first hardware security module, the "atalla box" which encrypted pin and atm messages, and went on to secure the majority of the world's atm transactions. atalla also launched an early online transaction processing security system in 1976 and the first network security processor (nsp) in 1979, and he later founded the internet company tristrata security in the 1990s. in recognition of his work on the personal identification number (pin) system of information security management as well as cybersecurity, atalla has been referred to as the "father of the pin" and as a pioneer of information security technology. he died in atherton, california, on december 30, 2009.