Browse Definitions :
Definition

transistor

A transistor is a device that regulates current or voltage flow and acts as a switch or gate for electronic signals. Transistors consist of three layers of a semiconductor material, each capable of carrying a current.

The transistor was invented by three scientists at the Bell Laboratories in 1947, and it rapidly replaced the vacuum tube as an electronic signal regulator. A transistor regulates current or voltage flow and acts as a switch or gate for electronic signals. A transistor consists of three layers of a semiconductor material, each capable of carrying a current. A semiconductor is a material such as germanium and silicon that conducts electricity in a "semi-enthusiastic" way. It's somewhere between a real conductor such as copper and an insulator (like the plastic wrapped around wires).

The semiconductor material is given special properties by a chemical process called doping. The doping results in a material that either adds extra electrons to the material (which is then called N-type for the extra negative charge carriers) or creates "holes" in the material's crystal structure (which is then called P-type because it results in more positive charge carriers). The transistor's three-layer structure contains an N-type semiconductor layer sandwiched between P-type layers (a PNP configuration) or a P-type layer between N-type layers (an NPN configuration).

A small change in the current or voltage at the inner semiconductor layer (which acts as the control electrode) produces a large, rapid change in the current passing through the entire component. The component can thus act as a switch, opening and closing an electronic gate many times per second. Today's computers use circuitry made with complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) technology. CMOS uses two complementary transistors per gate (one with N-type material; the other with P-type material). When one transistor is maintaining a logic state, it requires almost no power.

Transistors are the basic elements in integrated circuits (IC), which consist of very large numbers of transistors interconnected with circuitry and baked into a single silicon microchip.

This was last updated in October 2015

Continue Reading About transistor

SearchCompliance

  • information governance

    Information governance is a holistic approach to managing corporate information by implementing processes, roles, controls and ...

  • enterprise document management (EDM)

    Enterprise document management (EDM) is a strategy for overseeing an organization's paper and electronic documents so they can be...

  • risk assessment

    Risk assessment is the identification of hazards that could negatively impact an organization's ability to conduct business.

SearchSecurity

  • cyber espionage

    Cyber espionage, also called cyber spying, is a form of cyber attack that is carried out against a competitive company or ...

  • virus (computer virus)

    A computer virus is malicious code that replicates by copying itself to another program, computer boot sector or document and ...

  • honeypot (computing)

    A honeypot is a network-attached system set up as a decoy to lure cyber attackers and detect, deflect and study hacking attempts ...

SearchHealthIT

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • risk mitigation

    Risk mitigation is a strategy to prepare for and lessen the effects of threats faced by a business.

  • call tree

    A call tree is a layered hierarchical communication model that is used to notify specific individuals of an event and coordinate ...

  • Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS)

    Disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) is the replication and hosting of physical or virtual servers by a third party to provide ...

SearchStorage

  • cloud storage

    Cloud storage is a service model in which data is transmitted and stored on remote storage systems, where it is maintained, ...

  • cloud testing

    Cloud testing is the process of using the cloud computing resources of a third-party service provider to test software ...

  • storage virtualization

    Storage virtualization is the pooling of physical storage from multiple storage devices into what appears to be a single storage ...

Close