The function and Use
A transistor is a tiny electronic device, which either works as an “amplifier” or a “switch”, of electronic signals and electrical power. When the transistor works as an amplifier, it takes in a miniature electrical current at one end (the input current), and produces an “amplified” electrical current (the output current) at the other end. This is used in devices like hearing aids and microphones, for sound amplification.
Alternatively, a transistor working as a switch, will have a small current flowing through it, which activates a much larger current. This is largely used in memory chips, which can contain hundreds of thousands of transistors and sometimes even billions, depending on the chip. Another common effect of these transistors is, that the memory chip will display many numbers (most often ones and zeros), if accessed on a computer, they can be used to code, by turning the switches on and off for zeros and ones.
How and What it is Made From
Transistors are made from silicon, which is a chemical element found in sand, which does not normally conduct energy, as electrons do not easily flow through it, however as silicon is a semiconductor, when treated with specific “impurities”, like arsenic or phosphorus in a process called “dropping”. Depending on the the chemicals and substances dropped, there are different names for the product, like “P type silicon”, and “N type silicon”. Once P(ositive) and N(egative) silicon are combined, you can make all sorts of electric conductors, including many types of transistors.
Inventor/Time Invented
Transistors were first successfully demonstrated only half a century ago, on December 23, 1947 at Bell laboratories, cone of the worlds largest industrial laboratories. The transistor’s invention is credited to William Shockley, John Barden and Walter Brattian.
Typical Applications of Where it is Used
Transistors are commonly used in hearing aids, in which they amplify the input sound, and frequently used in speakers and microphones. Transistors can be found in every computer, as they are the key material in computer codes, dictation what numbers and algorithms the computer will use for different results.
Diagram
Capacitor
The function and Use
A capacitor’s, function is to store electrical energy, electrostatically, and to release this energy again to the circuit, when needed. Much like a warehouse, or a human cell, it stores all of the energy needed and disperses where the circuit requires. The capacitor’s original name was name was a condenser, which is fitting as its function is to condense energy. Unlike a resistor, a capacitor does not dissipate the energy it receives.
How and What it is Made From
Capacitors are made from two metal plates and the insulating material, dielectric, which can be made out of insulating materials like; paper, glass, rubber, plastic and ceramic. Some capacitors look like tubes, because the two metal plates are rolled up into cylinders, with the insulating metal in the centre. In all capacitors, the diametric stores the electric energy.
Inventor/Time Invented
What is considered the first capacitor, was called the Leyden jar. It was invented by Pieter van Musschenbroek in 1746 at the University of Leyden. The Leyden jar was a glass jar wrapped inside and out by a thin metal foil, the outer foil was then connected to the ground and the inner foil was connected to an electricity source. However, not long after, Pieter van Musschenbroek produced the first working example of a capacitor in Jan 1746.
Typical Applications of Where it is Used
Capacitors are a common material, used for tuning radio sets and avoiding electric sparks. They can also be found in cars, phones, air condition and rechargeable batteries. Capacitors can be found in almost all electronic devices that use circuit boards.
Diagram
Light Emitting Diode
The function and Use
A light emitting diode, or LED is a semiconductor device that lets out light as electricity flows through it. Most LEDs are made from a semiconducting material and can be made in a range of colours. When a suitable current is applied to the leads, electrons pass through the LED and are the reason why it lights up, which is the release of energy in the form of photons. LEDs can be used as rectifiers, signal limiters, voltage regulators and switches.
How and What it is Made From
Early light emitting diodes were used as indicator lamps. In general, Diodes are made of thin layers of semiconductor material. One layer will have an excess of electrons, while the other layer will have a deficiency. Light emitting diodes can be made from gallium arsenide, gallium phosphide or gallium arsenide phosphide.
Inventor/Time Invented
The first visible light emitting diode was invented in 1962, by the scientist Nick Holonyak jr, who was only 33 at the time. This light was red, however, in 1972 M. George Crawford invented the fist yellow LED and a brighter version of the red LED.
Typical Applications of Where it is Used
LEDs are often used in power conditioning, filters, circuit design and almost all electronic devices. used in power supplies, LEDs are also an essential component in wave receptors. Commonly found in digital clocks and amplifiers, as a way to indicate that they are on and working, for the user’s convenience.
Diagram

Resistor
The function and Use
A resistor is a short “worm” like component with coloured bands over it, whose job is to limit an electronic flow to a safe and manageable level, so that the rest of the parts in a circuit can function properly. Extensively used in electronics, resistors play a key part in maintaining and reserving a functioning circuit, as simply put, they oppose the flow of the electricity flowing through it, hence the name “resistors”. They help the rest of the circuit by stopping an unmanageable amount of energy from flowing through the circuit, which if not controlled, could erupt or collapse it. Resistors are so common in electronics that it would almost be virtually impossible to build a device without them.
How and What it is Made From
Resistors can be made from a large variety of materials, usually have a metal wire poking out of each end, a solid centre piece of ceramic plastic or fibreglass store. There are carbon composition resistors, which use a strong amount of carbon as the base, foil resistors, who hence the name, are wrapped in thin pieces of foil , and an extensive variety of specialized resistors. Made by winding a metal wire, usually nichrome, around a ceramic, plastic, or fiberglass core. The ends of the wire are then soldered or welded to the circuit or frame they are required at.
Inventor/Time Invented
Modern day resistors were invented by Otis Frank Boykin in 1959, who had previously been inspired to make devices like televisions and computers more efficient and affordable. This transistor was wire resistor that allowed a precise amount of electricity to flow to a component.
Typical Applications of Where it is Used
Resistors are an essential form of engineering device, and are almost always found in any electronic device, it would be virtually impossible to make any electronic device without resistors, as they a one of the absolutely key components in mainframes and circuits. This means that there is almost nothing electronic without it, but some examples of were they are used include heaters, toasters, radios, fuses, televisions, ipads and phones.
Diagram

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