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Junction Transistor

Junction Transistor

If diodes are one-way valves, transistors are one-way valves that can be carefully opened and closed to control current. A special kind of transistor is a junction transistor. A junction transistor has three parts, including an n-type semiconductor, also called the emitter; a thin p-type semiconductor, which is the base; and another n-type semiconductor, called the collector (this figure). When a positive terminal is connected to the p-type layer (the base), a small current of electrons, called the base current \({I}_{B},\) flows to the terminal. This causes a large collector current \({I}_{c}\) to flow through the collector. The base current can be adjusted to control the large collector current. The current gain is therefore

Note:

\({I}_{c}=\beta {I}_{B}.\)

Three blocks in contact are shown. From left to right they are labeled: emitter, n-type, base, p-type and collector, n-type. A voltage source is connected across the collector and emitter, with the collector being positive. Another voltage source is connected across the emitter and base, with the base being positive. A thick arrow starts from the emitter, goes through the other two blocks, comes out of the collector and travels along the first voltage loop. The arrow is labeled large electron flow, collector current. A thinner arrow from the base travels into the second voltage loop. This is labeled small electron flow, base current.

A junction transistor has three parts: emitter, base, and collector. Voltage applied to the base acts as a valve to control electric current from the emitter to the collector.

A junction transistor can be used to amplify the voltage from a microphone to drive a loudspeaker. In this application, sound waves cause a diaphragm inside the microphone to move in and out rapidly (this figure). When the diaphragm is in the “in” position, a tiny positive voltage is applied to the base of the transistor. This opens the transistor “valve” and allows a large electrical current flow to the loudspeaker. When the diaphragm is in the “out” position, a tiny negative voltage is applied to the base of the transistor, which shuts off the transistor valve so that no current flows to the loudspeaker. This shuts the transistor “valve” off so no current flows to the loudspeaker. In this way, current to the speaker is controlled by the sound waves, and the sound is amplified. Any electric device that amplifies a signal is called an amplifier.

Figure a shows three blocks in contact. From left to right they are labeled: emitter, n-type, base, p-type and collector, n-type. A loudspeaker is connected across the collector and emitter. A microphone is connected across the emitter and base. It is labeled diaphragm moves out. The voltage across the microphone is labeled base voltage. It is negative at the base. The figure is labeled little or no electron flow. Figure b shows a similar arrangement to figure a. A thick arrow starts from the emitter, goes through the other two blocks, comes out of the collector and travels along the loudspeaker loop. The arrow is labeled large electron flow, collector current. A thinner arrow from the base travels into the microphone loop. This is labeled small electron flow, base current. The polarity of the base voltage across the microphone is opposite from that in figure a. The microphone is labeled diaphragm moves in. The loudspeaker is shown to give out sound waves.

An audio amplifier based on a junction transistor. Voltage applied to the base by a microphone acts as a valve to control a larger electric current that passes through a loudspeaker.

In modern electronic devices, digital signals are used with diodes and transistors to perform tasks such as data manipulation. Electric circuits carry two types of electrical signals: analog and digital (this figure). An analog signal varies continuously, whereas a digital signal switches between two fixed voltage values, such as plus 1 volt and zero volts. In digital circuits like those found in computers, a transistor behaves like an on-off switch. The transistor is either on, meaning the valve is completely open, or it is off, meaning the valve is completely closed. Integrated circuits contain vast collections of transistors on a single piece of silicon. They are designed to handle digital signals that represent ones and zeroes, which is also known as binary code. The invention of the ic helped to launch the modern computer revolution.

Two graphs of V versus t are shown. The first, labeled analog signal has an irregular sinusoidal wave. The second, labeled digital signal has a square wave.

Real-world data are often analog, meaning data can vary continuously. Intensity values of sound or visual images are usually analog. These data are converted into digital signals for electronic processing in recording devices or computers. The digital signal is generated from the analog signal by requiring certain voltage cut-off value.

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