Ken Manchester was a pioneer in the development of ion implantation, a process in which silicon is bombarded with ionized atoms to change the electrical conductivity of certain areas. This method, called "doping," can produce very precise electrical junctions. Junctions form transistors; many transistors packaged on a chip form an integrated circuit.
In 1965, Manchester and his colleagues built one of the first transistors fabricated entirely with ion implantation. While that device was an experiment, within a few years Manchester and his coworker John Macdougall had constructed functioning integrated circuits using their laboratory-constructed ion implantation machine. Before long, they would be helping to design the first ion implantation apparatus for producing integrated circuits on a commercial scale for the start up company MOSTEK, in which their employer Sprague Electric was an investor. Currently, very precise doping in the integrated circuit industry is performed using ion implantation.
A native of Winona, Minnesota, Manchester received a bachelor's degree from San Jose State College in 1949 and a Ph.D. from Stawnford University in 1955. He joined Sprague Electric Co. in 1962, where he worked until his retirement in 1989, and he consulted with Allegro Microsystems until 1996.