Monday, January 24, 2011








A transistor is a semiconductor device used to amplify and switch electronic signals. It is made of a solid piece of semiconductor material, with at least three terminals for connection to an external circuit. A voltage or current applied to one pair of the transistor's terminals changes the current flowing through another pair of terminals. Because the controlled (output) power can be much more than the controlling (input) power, the transistor provides amplification of a signal. Some transistors are packaged individually but many more are found embedded in integrated circuits.

The transistor is the fundamental building block of modern electronic devices, and its presence is ubiquitous in modern electronic systems.

Types Of Transistor

Transistors are categorized by

Semiconductor material: germanium, silicon, gallium arsenide, silicon carbide, etc.

Structure: BJT, JFET, IGFET (MOSFET), IGBT, "other types"

Polarity: NPN, PNP (BJTs); N-channel, P-channel (FETs)

Maximum power rating: low, medium, high

Maximum operating frequency: low, medium, high, radio frequency (RF), microwave (The maximum effective frequency of a transistor is denoted by the term fT, an abbreviation for "frequency of transition". The frequency of transition is the frequency at which the transistor yields unity gain).

Application: switch, general purpose, audio, high voltage, super-beta, matched pair

Physical packaging: through hole metal, through hole plastic, surface mount, ball grid array, power modules

Amplification factor hfe (transistor beta)

Thus, a particular transistor may be described as silicon, surface mount, BJT, NPN, low power, high frequency switch.





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 a wide variety of analog circuits such as image sensors, data converters, and highly integrated transceivers for many types of communication. Frank Wanlass successfully patented CMOS in 1967 (US patent 3,356,858).

CMOS is also sometimes referred to as complementary-symmetry metal–oxide–semiconductor (or COS-MOS). The words "complementary-symmetry" refer to the fact that the typical digital design style with CMOS uses complementary and symmetrical pairs of p-type and n-type metal oxide semiconductor field effect transistors (MOSFETs) for logic functions.

Two important characteristics of CMOS devices are high noise immunity and low static power consumption. Significant power is only drawn while the transistors in the CMOS device are switching between on and off states. Consequently, CMOS devices do not produce as much waste heat as other forms of logic, for example transistor-transistor logic (TTL) or NMOS logic, which uses all n-channel devices without p-channel devices. CMOS also allows a high density of logic functions on a chip. It was primarily this reason why CMOS won the race in the eighties and became the most used technology to be implemented in VLSI chips.

The phrase "metal–oxide–semiconductor" is a reference to the physical structure of certain field-effect transistors, having a metal gate electrode placed on top of an oxide insulator, which in turn is on top of a semiconductor material. Aluminum was once used but now the material is polysilicon. Other metal gates have made a comeback with the advent of high-k dielectric materials in the CMOS process, as announced by IBM and Intel for the 45 nanometer node and beyond.


The main principle behind CMOS circuits that allows them to implement logic gates is the use of p-type and n-type metal–oxide–semiconductor field-effect transistors to create paths to the output from either the voltage source or ground. When a path to output is created from the voltage source, the circuit is said to be pulled up. The other circuit state occurs when a path to output is created from ground and the output pulled down to the ground potential.

Output is inversion of input

* Static CMOS Inverter

CMOS circuits are constructed so that all PMOS transistors must have either an input from the voltage source or from another PMOS transistor. Similarly, all NMOS transistors must have either an input from ground or from another NMOS transistor. The composition of a PMOS transistor creates low resistance between its source and drain contacts when a low gate voltage is applied and high resistance when a high gate voltage is applied. On the other hand, the composition of an NMOS transistor creates high resistance between source and drain when a low gate voltage is applied and low resistance when a high gate voltage is applied.

The image on the right shows what happens when an input is connected to both a PMOS transistor (top of diagram) and an NMOS transistor (bottom of diagram). When the voltage of input A is low, the NMOS transistor's channel is in a high resistance state. This limits the current that can flow from Q to ground. The PMOS transistor's channel is in a low resistance state and much more current can flow from the supply to the output. Because the resistance between the supply voltage and Q is low, the voltage drop between the supply voltage and Q due to a current drawn from Q is small. The output therefore registers a high voltage.

On the other hand, when the voltage of input A is high, the PMOS transistor is in an off (high resistance) state so it would limit the current flowing from the positive supply to the output, while the NMOS transistor is in an on (low resistance) state, allowing the output to drain to ground. Because the resistance between Q and ground is low, the voltage drop due to a current drawn into Q placing Q above ground is small. This low drop results in the output registering a low voltage.

In short, the outputs of the PMOS and NMOS transistors are complementary such that when the input is low, the output is high, and when the input is high, the output is low. Because of this opposite behavior of input and output, the CMOS circuits' output is the inversion of the input.


An advantage of CMOS over NMOS is that both low-to-high and high-to-low output transitions are fast since the pull-up transistors have low resistance when switched on, unlike the load resistors in NMOS logic. In addition, the output signal swings the full voltage between the low and high rails. This strong, more nearly symmetric response also makes CMOS more resistant to noise.


The metal–oxide–semiconductor field-effect transistor (MOSFET, MOS-FET, or MOS FET) is a device used for amplifying or switching electronic signals. The basic principle of the device was first proposed by Julius Edgar Lilienfeld in 1925. In MOSFETs, a voltage on the oxide-insulated gate electrode can induce a conducting channel between the two other contacts called source and drain. The channel can be of n-type or p-type (see article on semiconductor devices), and is accordingly called an nMOSFET or a pMOSFET (also commonly nMOS, pMOS). It is by far the most common transistor in both digital and analog circuits, though the bipolar junction transistor was at one time much more common.

The 'metal' in the name is now often a misnomer because the previously metal gate material is now often a layer of polysilicon (polycrystalline silicon). Aluminium had been the gate material until the mid 1970s, when polysilicon became dominant, due to its capability to form self-aligned gates. Metallic gates are regaining popularity, since it is difficult to increase the speed of operation of transistors without metal gates.

IGFET is a related term meaning insulated-gate field-effect transistor, and is almost synonymous with MOSFET, though it can refer to FETs with a gate insulator that is not oxide. Another synonym is MISFET for metal–insulator–semiconductor FET.

Circuit symbols

A variety of symbols are used for the MOSFET. The basic design is generally a line for the channel with the source and drain leaving it at right angles and then bending back at right angles into the same direction as the channel. Sometimes three line segments are used for enhancement mode and a solid line for depletion mode. Another line is drawn parallel to the channel for the gate.

The bulk connection, if shown, is shown connected to the back of the channel with an arrow indicating PMOS or NMOS. Arrows always point from P to N, so an NMOS (N-channel in P-well or P-substrate) has the arrow pointing in (from the bulk to the channel). If the bulk is connected to the source (as is generally the case with discrete devices) it is sometimes angled to meet up with the source leaving the transistor. If the bulk is not shown (as is often the case in IC design as they are generally common bulk) an inversion symbol is sometimes used to indicate PMOS, alternatively an arrow on the source may be used in the same way as for bipolar transistors (out for nMOS, in for pMOS).

Comparison of enhancement-mode and depletion-mode MOSFET symbols, along with JFET symbols (drawn with source and drain ordered such that higher voltages appear higher on the page than lower voltages):

MOSFET Operation:-

Example application of an N-Channel MOSFET. When the switch is pushed the LED lights up.

Metal–oxide–semiconductor structure on P-type silicon

Metal–oxide–semiconductor structure

A traditional metal–oxide–semiconductor (MOS) structure is obtained by growing a layer of silicon dioxide (SiO2) on top of a silicon substrate and depositing a layer of metal or polycrystalline silicon (the latter is commonly used). As the silicon dioxide is a dielectric material, its structure is equivalent to a planar capacitor, with one of the electrodes replaced by a semiconductor.

When a voltage is applied across a MOS structure, it modifies the distribution of charges in the semiconductor. If we consider a P-type semiconductor (with NA the density of acceptors, p the density of holes; p = NA in neutral bulk), a positive voltage, VGB, from gate to body (see figure) creates a depletion layer by forcing the positively charged holes away from the gate-insulator/semiconductor interface, leaving exposed a carrier-free region of immobile, negatively charged acceptor ions (see doping (semiconductor)). If VGB is high enough, a high concentration of negative charge carriers forms in an inversion layer located in a thin layer next to the interface between the semiconductor and the insulator. Unlike the MOSFET, where the inversion layer electrons are supplied rapidly from the source/drain electrodes, in the MOS capacitor they are produced much more slowly by thermal generation through carrier generation and recombination centers in the depletion region. Conventionally, the gate voltage at which the volume density of electrons in the inversion layer is the same as the volume density of holes in the body is called the threshold voltage.

This structure with P-type body is the basis of the N-type MOSFET, which requires the addition of an N-type source and drain regions.

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