Chihtang Sah

Chihtang  Sah
Chihtang Sah
For pioneering contributions to solid-state electronics in MOS and biopolar technologies.

Chihtang (Tom) Sah was a professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and of Physics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for more than 27 years. He then spent the next 22 years as the Pittman Eminent Scholar, a Graduate Research Professor, and the Chief Scientist at the University of Florida. Since April 2010, he has been affiliated with the Physics Department of Xiamen University, China.

Prior to the 50 years of teaching, he was head of the physics and technology group at the Fairchild Seminoconductor Laboratory in Palo Alto, California, where he assisted Gordon Moore in hiring, building, and directing a 64-person team that developed manufacturing technology for the first generation of silicon integrated circuits. These technologies included oxidation, diffusion, epitaxial growth, and metal conductor thin film deposition for volume production of silicon bipolar transistors and integrated circuits at the Fairchild factories in Mountain View, California. These contributions were recorded in journal articles published by his team.

Sah earned two engineering degrees (electrical engineering and engineering physics) at Illinois in 1953. He received a PhD on travelling wave tubes at Stanford University under Karl Spangenberg, who was the first PhD student of William L. Everitt (also a 2011 Hall of Fame inductee), while at The Ohio State University. Sah was hired by William Shockley in 1956 for three years, and from Shockley, Sah learned how transistors and semiconductors work.

Sah is the author of a three-volume textbook on solid-state electronics and he coauthored, with his 50 PhD students and 50 industrial and academic postdoctoral associates, nearly 300 journal articles. He is the founding editor of the International Series on the Advances in Solid State Electronics and Technology (ASSET) of the World Scientific Publishing Company, which has published eight of the ten books by invited authors on compact transistor models for computer-aided design of integrated circuits.

During Sah's 50-year academic tenure, he served as a consultant to many American companies and U.S. government agencies. These included the Army Research Office (Picatinny Arsenal lectures and NRC committee on proposal reviews), National Science Foundation, Harry Diamond Laboratory of the Nuclear Defense Agency (MOS transistors), the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the Department of Energy (solar cells).

He is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering, the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing, and the Academia Sinica in Taipei. He is a life fellow of the American Physical Society (APS) and of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineering (IEEE), and a fellow of the American Association of Advancement of Science.

Sah has received many recognitions. Among them are the distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award from the Chinese Institute of Engineers USA; Chinese-American Committee-100 Pioneer Award; U.S. Semiconductor Industry Association University of Research Award; first Achievement Award of the Asian-American Manufacturing Association of San Jose, California; J.J. Ebers Award, Jack Morton Award, and Browder J. Thompson best paper prize for authors under thirty, all from the IEEE; Institute of Scientific Information's World's 1,000 Most Cited Scientists, 1965-1978; and China's National Honorary Doctorate in April, 2010. Illinois Engineering recognized him with an Alumni Award for Distinguished Service in 1994.


  • BS, Electrical Engineering, 1953
  • BS, Engineering Physics, 1953