The Electronics Portal

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Electronics comprises the physics, engineering, technology and applications that deal with the emission, flow and control of electrons in vacuum and matter. It uses active devices to control electron flow by amplification and rectification, which distinguishes it from classical electrical engineering which uses passive effects such as resistance, capacitance and inductance to control current flow.

Electronics has had a major effect on the development of modern society. The identification of the electron in 1897, along with the subsequent invention of the vacuum tube which could amplify and rectify small electrical signals, inaugurated the field of electronics and the electron age. This distinction started around 1906 with the invention by Lee De Forest of the triode, which made electrical amplification of weak radio signals and audio signals possible with a non-mechanical device. Until 1950, this field was called "radio technology" because its principal application was the design and theory of radio transmitters, receivers, and vacuum tubes.

The term "solid-state electronics" emerged after the first working transistor was invented by William Shockley, Walter Houser Brattain and John Bardeen at Bell Labs in 1947. The MOSFET (MOS transistor) was later invented by Mohamed Atalla and Dawon Kahng at Bell Labs in 1959. The MOSFET was the first truly compact transistor that could be miniaturised and mass-produced for a wide range of uses, revolutionizing the electronics industry, and playing a central role in the microelectronics revolution and Digital Revolution. The MOSFET has since become the basic element in most modern electronic equipment, and is the most widely used electronic device in the world.

Electronics is widely used in information processing, telecommunication, and signal processing. The ability of electronic devices to act as switches makes digital information-processing possible. Interconnection technologies such as circuit boards, electronics packaging technology, and other varied forms of communication infrastructure complete circuit functionality and transform the mixed electronic components into a regular working system, called an electronic system; examples are computers or control systems. An electronic system may be a component of another engineered system or a standalone device. most electronic devices use semiconductor components to perform electron control. Commonly, electronic devices contain circuitry consisting of active semiconductors supplemented with passive elements; such a circuit is described as an electronic circuit. Electronics deals with electrical circuits that involve active electrical components such as vacuum tubes, transistors, diodes, integrated circuits, optoelectronics, and sensors, associated passive electrical components, and interconnection technologies. The nonlinear behaviour of active components and their ability to control electron flows makes amplification of weak signals possible.

The study of semiconductor devices and related technology is considered a branch of solid-state electronics. (Full article...)

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Joseph Henry (December 17, 1797 – May 13, 1878) was a Scottish-American scientist. During his lifetime, he was considered one of the greatest American scientists since Benjamin Franklin. While building electromagnets, he discovered the electromagnetic phenomenon of self-inductance. He also discovered mutual inductance independently of Faraday, though Faraday was the first to publish his results. His work on the electromagnetic relay was the basis of the electrical telegraph, jointly invented by Samuel Morse and Charles Wheatstone. The SI unit of inductance, the henry, is named after him.

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Credit: User:Omegatron
Various phone jack symbols, to show every type of functionality.

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In science and technology, a battery is a device that stores chemical energy and makes it available in an electrical form. Batteries consist of electrochemical devices such as two or more galvanic cells, fuel cells or flow cells. The modern development of batteries started with the Voltaic pile, announced by the Italian physicist Alessandro Volta in 1800.

Formally, an electrical "battery" is an interconnected array of similar voltaic cells ("cells"). However, in many contexts (other than the expression dry cell) it is common to call a single cell used on its own a battery. A battery is a device in which chemical energy is directly converted to electrical energy. It consists of one or more voltaic cells, each of which is composed of two half cells connected in series by the conductive electrolyte.

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Credit: commons:User:Peo
Illustration showing the interior of a cathode-ray tube for color televisions and monitors.

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The Segway PT is a two-wheeled, self-balancing transportation device invented by Dean Kamen and unveiled in December 2001. It is available in various models and form factors produced by the company Segway Inc. of New Hampshire. Computers and motors in the base keep the Segway upright at all times. Users lean forward to go forward, and back to move backwards. Segway PTs are driven by electric motors at up to 10.6 m/s (25.5 mph/40 km/h). Gyroscopes are used to detect departures from perfect balance.


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