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Transistors Transistors: the building blocks of modern electronics

| Editor: Erika Granath

Transistors have ushered in a revolution in the electronics industry and utterly changed the way technology and society functions. The current generation of transis-tors are so small that billions of these devices can fit onto a single computer chip.

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A transistor is a semiconductor device used to amplify or switch electronic signals and electrical power.
A transistor is a semiconductor device used to amplify or switch electronic signals and electrical power.
(Source: Copyright © 2015 by NorGal. All Rights Reserved.)

Read on to find out how this building block of modern electronics works.

What is a transistor?

Transistors are simple three-terminal semiconductor devices that can be thought of as the “brain cells” of electronic devices. Like neurons in the brain that communicate with other cells to transfer nerve impulses, transistors are designed to either a) take an electric current and amplify it to produce a larger current, or b) work as a switch that connects or disconnects an electrical circuit’s conducting path. Most transistors are made of silicon due to its abundance and excellent properties as a semiconductor, with modern variants measuring just a few nano-meters in width.