A CDE Definition
(1) A starting or reference point.
(2) In a bipolar transistor, the elements that act as a switch. In NMOS and PMOS transistors, which make up CMOS circuits, the base is called the "gate." See transistor.
(3) A multiplier in a numbering system. In a decimal system, each digit position is worth 10x the position to its right. In binary, each digit position is worth 2x the position to its right.
In the analog world of continuously varying signals, a transistor is a device used to amplify its electrical input. In the digital world, a transistor is a binary switch and the fundamental building block of computer circuitry. Like a light switch on the wall, the transistor either prevents or allows current to flow through. A single modern CPU can have hundreds of millions or even billions of transistors.
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 gate, the transistor changes its state. To learn more about the transistor, see transistor concept and chip. See active area, phototransistor and High-K/Metal Gate.
From Transistors to Systems
Conceptual View of a Transistor
The First Silicon Transistor
Transistors Get Smaller
Before/After Your Search Term
Terms By Topic
Click any of the following categories for a list of fundamental terms.