13 sextillion MOSFETs have been manufactured making them the most widely manufactured device in all history. These transistors were made possible by, though not directly, the initial work done by William Shockley and his team at Bell Labs.
William Bradford Shockley was the manager of the 1956 Nobel Prize-winning team of John Bardeen and Walter Brattain, they were awarded it in the field of Physics.
The mandate given to Shockley and his team was initially to find a solid-state amplifier that could be an alternative to the vacuum tube amplifiers that were famously fragile. They met little success until Bardeen suggested a change of tack, focusing instead on surface states.
They discovered the ‘transistor effect’ at Bell Labs in the 1940s. Transistors are semiconductors, materials that are between what is considered a conductor or an insulator. Silicon was a crucial part of technological advancements in semiconductors at the time and would become one of the contributors to ‘Silicon Valley’ getting its name.
This theory coupled with the work being done with silicon as a semiconductor brought about success for the team and set off a world-altering development process in silicon-based semiconductor devices using the transistor effect. They can now be found in almost every electronic device. Your phone, gate remote, TV remote and any other electronic item that needs to go on or off.