Sometimes semiconductors need help with the amount of electrical power they are using. Transistors can help this situation. A transistor amplifies and/or switches the electrical power in a semiconductor. Some of the most sophisticated and powerful microprocessors use high powered transistors to accomplish the need for speed. A transistor is composed of three layers instead of a diode, which uses two layers. There are two types of transistors a NPN or PNP. A transistor looks like a back to back diode, which a person might think would not create a flow. But, because there is a center layer that allows for a current to flow through, this is not the case.
In the early 1900’s vacuum tubes were used to amplify radio and long distance telephony. They were created by Lee De Forest. But because these tubes were made of glass, and fragile, they were inefficient. In 1925 Julius Edgar Lillenfeld filed a patent to create a transistor. From the 1940’s through 1950’s technology changed and amended the design of transistor. In the later 1950’s Jack Kilby and Robert Noyce advanced the transistor and semiconductor by making them back to back instead of one-by-one. The creation of the integrated circuit has led to a vast technological development used to further our own use.
There are many advantages to using a transistor in semiconducting technology. They are very small, lightweight, and do not require a cathode heater. A cathode heater is the part of an incandescent lamp that lights up orange or yellow and produces heat. A transistor also allows for a large number of them to be placed on an integrated, single circuit. They require very low operating voltages and are energy efficient. They have low sensitively to mechanical shock and vibration meaning they are not easily broken, or damaged.