What is a Transistor?

A transistor is like a switch. This is because the semiconductor device has all the features of a traditional switch, including blocking and allowing the electrons to flow around the circuit. There are three terminals in the device. One is for the power input, and the other terminal is for the output while the last one controls the switching. It is the basic component in the design of electronic devices. It is also used in circuit boards as a standalone part or embedded into an integrated circuit.

There is one semiconductive material in the transistor, mostly silicon, along with three or more terminals that connect to an external circuit. John Bardeen, Walter Brattain and William Shockley invented the transistor in 1974. They were later jointly awarded a Physics Nobel Prize for their effort in technological advancement. This technology has been the foundation of modern appliances such as smartphones, widescreen TVs, electronic computing devices and tablets.

How the Transistor Works

A transistor works as an electronic switch where electrons flow from the collector terminal to the emitter terminal. The middle or the base is usually the base of the switch control where silicon or similar material changes between an insulator and a conductor with and without electron simulation, respectively. In the Conductive state, it allows the flow of electricity.

The chemical process by which transistor is made is called doping. In the process, the semi-conductive materials get either an extra positive charge (P-type) or a negative charge (N-type). Transistors are made in either of the two configurations NPN or PNP, where the material at the middle is the flow control or the base.

A voltage or current change in the base material leads to high voltage or current passing through the integrated circuit. This way, it works like a power amplifier.

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