Tetrode transistor

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A tetrode transistor is any transistor having four active terminals.

Transistor semiconductor device used to amplify and switch electronic signals and electrical power

A transistor is a semiconductor device used to amplify or switch electronic signals and electrical power. It is composed of semiconductor material usually with at least three terminals for connection to an external circuit. A voltage or current applied to one pair of the transistor's terminals controls the current through another pair of terminals. Because the controlled (output) power can be higher than the controlling (input) power, a transistor can amplify a signal. Today, some transistors are packaged individually, but many more are found embedded in integrated circuits.


Early tetrode transistors

There were two types of tetrode transistor developed in the early 1950s as an improvement over the point-contact transistor and the later grown junction transistor and alloy junction transistor. Both offered much higher speed than earlier transistors.

Point-contact transistor first type of solid-state electronic transistor ever constructed

The point-contact transistor was the first type of transistor to be successfully demonstrated. It was developed by research scientists John Bardeen and Walter Brattain at Bell Laboratories in December 1947. They worked in a group led by physicist William Shockley. The group had been working together on experiments and theories of electric field effects in solid state materials, with the aim of replacing vacuum tubes with a smaller device that consumed less power.

Capacitance ability of a body to store an electrical charge

Capacitance is the ratio of the change in an electric charge in a system to the corresponding change in its electric potential. There are two closely related notions of capacitance: self capacitance and mutual capacitance. Any object that can be electrically charged exhibits self capacitance. A material with a large self capacitance holds more electric charge at a given voltage than one with low capacitance. The notion of mutual capacitance is particularly important for understanding the operations of the capacitor, one of the three elementary linear electronic components.

A diffusion transistor is a bipolar junction transistor (BJT) formed by diffusing dopants into a semiconductor substrate. The diffusion process was developed later than the alloy junction and grown junction processes for making BJTs.

Modern tetrode transistors

Integrated injection logic class of digital circuits

Integrated injection logic (IIL, I2L, or I2L) is a class of digital circuits built with multiple collector bipolar junction transistors (BJT). When introduced it had speed comparable to TTL yet was almost as low power as CMOS, making it ideal for use in VLSI (and larger) integrated circuits. Although the logic voltage levels are very close (High: 0.7V, Low: 0.2V), I2L has high noise immunity because it operates by current instead of voltage. I2L was developed in 1971 by Siegfried K. Wiedmann and Horst H. Berger who originally called it merged-transistor logic (MTL).

Integrated circuit electronic circuit manufactured by lithography; set of electronic circuits on one small flat piece (or "chip") of semiconductor material, normally silicon

An integrated circuit or monolithic integrated circuit is a set of electronic circuits on one small flat piece of semiconductor material that is normally silicon. The integration of large numbers of tiny transistors into a small chip results in circuits that are orders of magnitude smaller, cheaper, and faster than those constructed of discrete electronic components. The IC's mass production capability, reliability and building-block approach to circuit design has ensured the rapid adoption of standardized ICs in place of designs using discrete transistors. ICs are now used in virtually all electronic equipment and have revolutionized the world of electronics. Computers, mobile phones, and other digital home appliances are now inextricable parts of the structure of modern societies, made possible by the small size and low cost of ICs.

The field effect tetrode is a solid-state device, constructed by creating two field effect channels back-to-back, with a junction between. It is a four terminal device with interesting properties. It does not have specific gate terminals since each channel is a gate for the other, the voltage conditions modulating the current carried by the other channel.

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Semiconductor devices are electronic components that exploit the electronic properties of semiconductor material, principally silicon, germanium, and gallium arsenide, as well as organic semiconductors. Semiconductor devices have replaced thermionic devices in most applications. They use electronic conduction in the solid state as opposed to the gaseous state or thermionic emission in a high vacuum.

Transistor–transistor logic class of digital circuits built from bipolar junction transistors (BJTs) and resistors; transistors perform both the logic function (e.g., AND) and the amplifying function

Transistor–transistor logic (TTL) is a logic family built from bipolar junction transistors. Its name signifies that transistors perform both the logic function and the amplifying function ; it is the same naming convention used in resistor–transistor logic (RTL) and diode–transistor logic (DTL).

Bipolar junction transistor transistor that uses both electron and hole charge carriers.In contrast,unipolar transistors such as field-effect transistors,only use one kind of charge carrier.For their operation,BJTs use 2 junctions between 2 semiconductor types,n-type and p-type

A bipolar junction transistor is a type of transistor that uses both electron and hole charge carriers. In contrast, unipolar transistors, such as field-effect transistors, only use one kind of charge carrier. For their operation, BJTs use two junctions between two semiconductor types, n-type and p-type.

CMOS technology for constructing integrated circuits

Complementary metal–oxide–semiconductor (CMOS) is a technology for constructing integrated circuits. CMOS technology is used in microprocessors, microcontrollers, static RAM, and other digital logic circuits. CMOS technology is also used for several analog circuits such as image sensors, data converters, and highly integrated transceivers for many types of communication. Frank Wanlass patented CMOS in 1963 while working for Fairchild Semiconductor.

Darlington transistor compound structure consisting of two bipolar transistors

In electronics,A multi-transistor configuration called darlington pair, or the Darlington configuration is a compound structure of a particular design made by two bipolar transistors connected in such a way that the current amplified by the first transistor is amplified further by the second one. This configuration gives a much higher current gain than each transistor taken separately.

Emitter-coupled logic high-speed integrated circuit bipolar transistor logic family

In electronics, emitter-coupled logic (ECL) is a high-speed integrated circuit bipolar transistor logic family. ECL uses an overdriven BJT differential amplifier with single-ended input and limited emitter current to avoid the saturated region of operation and its slow turn-off behavior. As the current is steered between two legs of an emitter-coupled pair, ECL is sometimes called current-steering logic (CSL), current-mode logic (CML) or current-switch emitter-follower (CSEF) logic.

Differential amplifier

A differential amplifier is a type of electronic amplifier that amplifies the difference between two input voltages but suppresses any voltage common to the two inputs. It is an analog circuit with two inputs and and one output in which the output is ideally proportional to the difference between the two voltages

Resistor–transistor logic (RTL) is a class of digital circuits built using resistors as the input network and bipolar junction transistors (BJTs) as switching devices. RTL is the earliest class of transistorized digital logic circuit used; other classes include diode–transistor logic (DTL) and transistor–transistor logic (TTL). RTL circuits were first constructed with discrete components, but in 1961 it became the first digital logic family to be produced as a monolithic integrated circuit. RTL integrated circuits were used in the Apollo Guidance Computer, whose design was begun in 1961 and which first flew in 1966.

Diode–transistor logic (DTL) is a class of digital circuits that is the direct ancestor of transistor–transistor logic. It is called so because the logic gating function is performed by a diode network and the amplifying function is performed by a transistor.

In computer engineering, a logic family may refer to one of two related concepts. A logic family of monolithic digital integrated circuit devices is a group of electronic logic gates constructed using one of several different designs, usually with compatible logic levels and power supply characteristics within a family. Many logic families were produced as individual components, each containing one or a few related basic logical functions, which could be used as "building-blocks" to create systems or as so-called "glue" to interconnect more complex integrated circuits. A "logic family" may also refer to a set of techniques used to implement logic within VLSI integrated circuits such as central processors, memories, or other complex functions. Some such logic families use static techniques to minimize design complexity. Other such logic families, such as domino logic, use clocked dynamic techniques to minimize size, power consumption and delay.

Diode logic constructs Boolean logic gates from diodes acting

Diode logic (DL), or diode-resistor logic (DRL), is the construction of Boolean logic gates from diodes. Diode logic was used extensively in the construction of early computers, where semiconductor diodes could replace bulky and costly active vacuum tube elements. The most common use for diode logic is in diode–transistor logic (DTL) integrated circuits that, in addition to diodes, include inverter logic for power gain and signal restoration.

Open collector

An open collector is a common type of output found on many integrated circuits (IC), which behaves like a switch that is either connected to ground or disconnected.

The spacistor was a type of transistor developed in the 1950s as an improvement over the point-contact transistor and the later alloy junction transistor. It offered much higher speed than earlier transistors. It became obsolete in the early 1960s with the development of the diffusion transistor.

Alloy-junction transistor

The germanium alloy-junction transistor, or alloy transistor, was an early type of bipolar junction transistor, developed at General Electric and RCA in 1951 as an improvement over the earlier grown-junction transistor.

A pentode transistor is any transistor having five active terminals.

Direct-coupled transistor logic (DCTL) is similar to resistor–transistor logic (RTL) but the input transistor bases are connected directly to the collector outputs without any base resistors. Consequently, DCTL gates have fewer components, are more economical, and are simpler to fabricate onto integrated circuits than RTL gates. Unfortunately, DCTL has much smaller signal levels, has more susceptibility to ground noise, and requires matched transistor characteristics. The transistors are also heavily overdriven; that is a good feature in that it reduces the saturation voltage of the output transistors, but it also slows the circuit down due to a high stored charge in the base. Gate fan-out is limited due to "current hogging": if the transistor base-emitter voltages are not well matched, then the base-emitter junction of one transistor may conduct most of the input drive current at such a low base-emitter voltage that other input transistors fail to turn on.


  1. Wolf, Oswald; R. T. Kramer; J. Spiech; H. Shleuder (1966). Special Purpose Transistors: A Self-Instructional Programmed Manual. Prentice Hall. pp. 98102.
  2. U.S. Patent 4,143,421 - Tetrode transistor memory logic cell, March 6, 1979. Filed September 6, 1977.