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    Home : Math Matters - A Brief Look at How Mathematics has Influenced Modern Life : Electronics
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Free Printed Poster

Antoine Lavoisier
(French, 1743-1794)
who is considered the father of modern chemistry, discovered the element silicon. Silicon is the main component in semiconconductor devices. Lavoisier also introduced the Metric system of measurement.
The invention of the transistor in 1947 at Bell Labs launched the electronics age. This small, three-terminal device allows current to flow between two of its terminals depending on the current or voltage applied on the third. It can be used for amplification, switching, modulation, and many other tasks that had only been possible by large, less robust vacuum tubes or mechanical relay switches. Over time, transistors became further miniaturized within integrated circuits (chips).

Sample mathematics of a Bipolar Junction Transistor (Ebers-Moll model):

Emitter current

Collector current
Base-internal current
is the common base forward short circuit current gain (0.98 to 0.998)
is the reverse saturation current of the base-emitter diode (on the order of 10-15 to 10-12 amperes)
is the thermal voltage (approximately 26 mV at room temperature ≈ 300 K)
is the base-emitter voltage
is the base width