25.09.2022 11:00

What You Need to Know About Transistors

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The wonders of technology never fail to amaze, and in today’s digital world there’s always something new just around the corner. No matter whether you’ve just picked up the new iPhone invested in the electric car, or had the pacemaker fitted, you’re benefiting from the invention of the transistor.

Created in the late 1940s, transistors turned the world on its head as opportunities for better electronic devices flew wide open. Quickly integrated into a range of consumer products, they began powering the computer chips that operate a range of devices and thus improving life for everyone in America and across the globe.

Read on to find out more about the trusty transistor and its role in society today.

What are Transistors?

A transistor is a tiny electronic component found in computers that have been used to amplify or switch electronic signals. When used as an amplifier it takes in a small electronic current at one end and creates a much larger current at the opposite end. Amplifying transistors are commonly used in hearing aids.

Transistors can also act as a switch because when a smaller current passes through them a much stronger current is created which activates the switch function. This process plays a significant role in how computer chips work.

Different Types of Transistors

There are three types of transistors: bipolar transistors, also known as bipolar junction transistors (BJTs), field-effect transistors (FETs), and insulated-gate bipolar transistors (IGBTs).

Bipolar transistors use both holes and electrons to carry a charge. There are two different types of Bipolar transistors that are manufactured: NPN and PNP.

Field-effect transistors are unipolar devices in which there’s no pn junction in the main path of the current. Two types of field-effect transistors are available: N-channel and P-channel.

Insulated-gate bipolar transistors are made up of a voltage-driven MOSFET transistor (metal-oxide-semi-conductor field-effect transistor) and a high current transistor.

How Transistors Have Changed The World

The first functioning transistor was created in New Jersey in 1947. By 1960 transistors were being incorporated into numerous consumer products, including transistor radios and the first portable TVs in America. In 1983, the world’s first cell phone was created by Motorola. It was powered by transistors and retailed for $3,995.

Prior to the invention, vacuum tubes had to be turned on and off to represent zeros and ones. This wasn’t an efficient form of technology, particularly given how many tubes and bulbs, and how much heat was required to achieve the desired result.

These minuscule pieces of tech power the computer chips that enable everything from your car to your smartphone to run efficiently and effectively.

Today, every industry in America benefits from the invention of transistors. For example, in the medical field, they’re utilized in pacemakers to keep our hearts beating and a new type of transistor constructed from linen thread has recently been developed for diagnostic monitoring.

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