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Transistor

Assorted transistors A transistor is a three-terminal semiconductor device that can be used for amplification, switching, voltage stabilization, signal modulation and many other functions. The transistor is the fundamental building block of both digital and analog integrated circuits the circuitry that governs the operation of computers, cellular phones, and all other modern electronics.

Introduction Transistors are divided into two main categories: bipolar junction transistors (BJTs) and field effect transistors (FETs). Application of current in BJTs and voltage in FETs between the input and common terminals increases the conductivity between the common and output terminals, thereby controlling current flow between them. For more details on the operation of these two types of transistors, see field effect transistor and bipolar junction transistor. In analog circuits, transistors are used in amplifiers, (direct current amplifiers, audio amplifiers, radio frequency amplifiers), and linear regulated power supplies. Transistors are also used in digital circuits where they function as electronic switches. Digital circuits include logic gates, random access memory (RAM), microprocessors, and digital signal processors (DSPs).

Importance The transistor is considered by many to be one of the greatest inventions in modern history, ranking in importance with the printing press, automobile and telephone. It is the key active component in practically all modern electronics. Its importance in today's society rests on its ability to be mass produced using a highly automated process (fabrication) that achieves vanishingly low per-transistor costs.

Although millions of individual (known as discrete) transistors are still used, the vast majority of transistors are fabricated into integrated circuits (often abbreviated as IC and also called microchips or simply chips) along with diodes, resistors, capacitors and other electronic components to produce complete electronic circuits. A logic gate comprises about twenty transistors whereas an advanced microprocessor, as of 2006, can use as many as 1.7 billion transistors (MOSFETs) [1]. The transistor's low cost, flexibility and reliability have made it a universal device for non-mechanical tasks, such as digital computing. Transistorized circuits have replaced electromechanical devices for the control of appliances and machinery as well. It is often less expensive and more effective to use a standard microcontroller and write a computer program to carry out a control function than to design an equivalent mechanical control function. Because of the low cost of transistors and hence digital computers, there is a trend to digitize information. With digital computers offering the ability to quickly find, sort and process digital information, more and more effort has been put into making information digital. As a result, today, much media data is delivered in digital form, finally being converted and presented in analog form by computers. Areas influenced by the Digital Revolution include television, radio, and newspapers. Types

PNP

P-channel

NPN

N-channel

BJT

JFET

BJT and JFET symbols

Transistors are categorized by:


Semiconductor material: germanium, silicon, gallium arsenide, silicon carbide Structure: BJT, JFET, IGFET (MOSFET), IGBT, "other types" Polarity: NPN, PNP, N-channel, P-channel Maximum power rating: low, medium, high Maximum operating frequency: low, medium, high, radio frequency (RF), microwave (The maximum effective frequency of a transistor is denoted by the term fT, an abbreviation for "frequency of transition". The frequency of transition is the frequency at which the transistor yields unity gain). Application: switch, general purpose, audio, high voltage, super-beta, matched pair Physical packaging: through hole metal, through hole plastic, surface mount, ball grid array

Thus, a particular transistor may be described as: silicon, surface mount, BJT, NPN, low power, high frequency switch.

Bipolar junction transistor The bipolar junction transistor (BJT) was the first type of transistor to be mass-produced. Bipolar transistors are so named because they conduct by using both majority and minority carriers. The three terminals of the BJT are named emitter, base and collector. Two p-n junctions exist inside a BJT: the base/emitter junction and base/collector junction. The BJT is commonly described as a current-operated device because the collector/emitter current is controlled by the current flowing between base and emitter terminals. Unlike the FET, the BJT is a low input-impedance device. As the base/emitter voltage (Vbe) is increased the base/emitter current and hence the collector/emitter current (Ice) increase exponentially (Ice KVbe where K is a constant). Because of this exponential relationship the BJT has a higher transconductance than the FET. Bipolar transistors can be made to conduct by light, since absorption of photons in the base region generates a photocurrent that acts as a base

current; the collector current is approximately beta times the photocurrent. Devices designed for this purpose have a transparent window in the package and are called phototransistors.

Field-effect transistor The field-effect transistor (FET), sometimes called a unipolar transistor, uses either electrons (N-channel FET) or holes (P-channel FET) for conduction. The four terminals of the FET are named source, gate, drain, and body (substrate). On most FETs the body is connected to the source inside the package and this will be assumed for the following description. A voltage applied between the gate and source (body) controls the current flowing between the drain and source. As the gate/source voltage (Vgs) is increased the drain/source current (Ids) increases parabolically (Ids Vgs 2). In FETs the drain/source current flows through a conducting channel near the gate. This channel connects the drain region to the source region. The channel conductivity is varied by the electric field generated by the voltage applied between the gate/source terminals. In this way the current flowing between the drain and source is controlled. FETs are divided into two families: junction FET (JFET) and insulated gate FET (IGFET). The IGFET is more commonly known as metaloxide semiconductor FET (MOSFET), from their original construction as a layer of metal (the gate), a layer of oxide (the insulation), and a layer of semiconductor. Unlike IGFETs, the JFET gate forms a PN diode with the channel, which lies between the source and drain. Functionally, this makes the N-channel JFET the solid state equivalent of the vacuum tube triode that, similarly, forms a diode between its grid and cathode. Also, both devices operate in the depletion mode, they both have high input impedance, and they both conduct current under the control of an input voltage. MOSFETs are JFETs, in which the reverse biased PN junction is replaced by a semiconductor-metal Schottky-junction. These, and the HEMFETs (high electron mobility FETs), in which a two-dimensional electron gas with very high carrier mobility is used for charge transport, are especially suitable for use at very high frequencies (microwave frequencies; several GHz).

Unlike bipolar transistors, FETs do not inherently amplify a photocurrent. Nevertheless, there are ways to use them, especially JFETs, as lightsensitive devices, by exploiting the photocurrents in channelgate or channelbody junctions. FETs are further divided into depletion-mode and enhancement-mode types, depending on whether the channel is turned on or off with zero gateto-source voltage. For enhancement mode, the channel is off at zero bias, and a gate potential can "enhance" the conduction. For depletion mode, the channel is on at zero bias, and a gate potential (of the opposite polarity) can "deplete" the channel, reducing conduction. For either mode, a more positive gate voltage corresponds to a higher current for N-channel devices and a lower current for P-channel devices. Nearly all JFETs are depletion-mode, since the diode junctions would forward bias and conduction if they were used for enhancement mode; and most IGFETs are enhancement-mode types.

Transistor
Diode by itself is very useful in the modern electronics, but two diodes can be joined together to form another very useful electronic device known as the transistor. A transistor can be made by grouping the P and N type of semiconductors in one of the following ways. NPN PNP In the NPN transistor as the name suggest P type semiconductor is sandwiched between two N type regions.

Npn & pnp transistor In the PNP transistor N type semiconductor is sandwiched between two p type regions.