transistor[tran zis′tər, -sis′-]
- The definition of a transistor is an electronic device that works by controlling the flow of the electrical current.
An example of a transistor is something combined in large numbers with microcircuits into a single circuit board and used in a computer.
- a solid-state, electronic device, composed of semiconductor material, as germanium, silicon, etc., that controls current flow without use of a vacuum: transistors are similar in function to electron tubes, but have the advantages of being compact, long-lived, and low in power requirements
- popularly a transistorized radio
Origin of transistortran(sfer) + (re)sistor: it transfers a current across a resistor
- A small electronic device containing a semiconductor and having at least three electrical contacts, used in a circuit as an amplifier, detector, or switch.
- Any of various devices serving the same purpose but employing a different technology: an optical transistor.
- A transistor radio.
Origin of transistortrans(fer) + (res)istor.
transistor - Computer Definition
A contraction of trans-resistor, a transistor is a solid-state active device that controls current flow. A transistor comprises a semiconducting material, such as silicon or germanium, in three electrode regions with two junctions.The regions are alternately doped positive-negative-positive or negative-positivenegative in a semiconducting sandwich, so to speak. One outer region serves as the collector, the inner region as the base, and the other outer region as the emitter. The collector circuit collects power from the external power source, the base acts like a control electrode, and the emitter emits the outbound signal. Small signals applied between the base and the emitter control the larger currents and power from the collector, with a small change in the signal applied to the base producing a large and rapid change in the current flowing through the entire component. A transistor can operate linearly, like an audio amplifier, or like a switch, rapidly opening and closing an electronic gate. A transistor can act on a signal to perform a variety of functions such as amplification, rectification, modulation or demodulation, and buffering.The transistor was invented by William Shockley, John Bardeen, and Walter Britain of AT&T Bell Telephone Laboratories, in 1947, and quickly replaced the electron tube, or vacuum tube.As a result of the 1956 Consent Decree, AT&T was forced to license the patented transistor technology to any company for $25,000. General Electric, IBM, Sony, and Texas Instruments are but a few of the companies that wrote a check. Large numbers of transistors are frequently interconnected with microcircuits and baked into a single integrated circuit, many of which can exist on a single circuit board in an electronic device such as a computer, switch, or router. See also amplifier, buffer, Consent Decree, current, modulation, patent, power, rectifier, and signal.
In the analog world of continuously varying signals, a transistor is a device used to amplify its electrical input. In the digital world of computing, a transistor is mostly a binary switch and the fundamental building block of digital circuitry. Like a light switch on the wall, the transistor acts as a simple on/off switch, either preventing or allowing current to flow through. Made of Semiconductor Material The active part of the transistor is made of silicon or some other semiconductor material that can change its electrical state when pulsed. In its normal state, the material may be nonconductive or conductive, either impeding or letting current flow. When voltage is applied to the transistor's gate, it changes its state. Transistors to Gates to Circuits to Systems Transistors, as well as resistors, capacitors and diodes, are wired in patterns that make up logic gates. Logic gates wired in patterns make up circuits, and circuits wired in patterns make up electronic systems. To learn more about the transistor, see transistor concept and chip. See active area, phototransistor and High-K/Metal Gate.