John D. Macdougall

Born: 1940

John D. Macdougall summarizes his graduate and doctoral work before discussing his career at Sprague Electric Company in the research and development department, specifically working on ion implementation. At Sprague, Macdougall built a permanent magnet velocity filter and scanning system, worked on PNP transistors, implanted TTL circuits and linears circuits, and aided in the developmental progress of MOS [metal oxide semiconductors] to MOSFETS [meta oxide semiconductor field effect transistors], among other projects. Macdougall also discusses his move to the Worcester facility, the sale of Sprague to General Cable, and his work in engineering management at General Cable. 

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Interview Details

Interview no.: Oral History 0307
No. of pages: 26
Minutes: 105

Interview Sessions

Christophe Lécuyer
7 March 2005

Abstract of Interview

John D. Macdougall begins the interview with a summary of his graduate and doctoral work. In 1966 Macdougall began working at Sprague Electric Company in the research and development department with ion implementation. He built a permanent magnet velocity filter and scanning system upon arriving, which aided in implanting uniformly over the wafer. The second implanter machine he built at Sprague used parts supplied by Accelerators, Inc. Macdougall contributed to work on PNP transistors, working on implants for beta control. He also implanted TTL circuits and linear circuits and aided in the developmental progress of MOS (metal oxide semiconductors) to MOSFETS (metal oxide semiconductor field effect transistors). He also worked on device characterization and MOS for two military R&D contracts. He worked on a threshold adjust technique, which Robert Palmer created a use for. Macdougall eventually moved to the Worcester facility, before Sprague was sold to General Cable. Macdougall served as a consultant for Sprague until the semiconductor research group dissolved in 1975. He then moved on to engineering management at the Worcester facility of General Cable. 

Table of Contents

College Education

Doctoral work in physics. Graduate student at McMaster University.

Career at Sprague Electric Company

North Adams facility. Research and development of ion implementation. Technology X. Built magnet velocity filter and a scanning system. International ion beam conference. Bought parts for second implanter from Accelerators, Inc.

PNP Transistors

Implants for beta control. Implanted TTL circuits. Implanted linear circuits. Published in the Proceedings of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. Technology X. Patent.

Metal Oxide Semiconductors

Ion implementation. Physicist in a group of chemists. Military R&D contracts. Metal oxide semiconductor field effect transistors. Complementary metal oxide semiconductors.

Threshold work

Two low-threshold approaches. Tri-state logic. Threshold adjust technique.


Robert Palmer and collaboration. Sprague and MOSTEK. Published in Electronics.


Depletion load work. Sprague Electric sold to General Cable. Move from North Adams to Worcester. MOSTEK-Sprague consultant. Semiconductor industry's adoption of ion implantation.


About the Interviewer

Christophe Lécuyer

Christophe Lécuyer is a graduate of the École Normale Supérieure in Paris, and he received a PhD 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).