Introduction to Electronics

Introduction to Electronics
  • Electronics is a branch of science which deals with the flow of electrons and their effects in materials such as vacuum, gas and semiconductors.
  • Electronics engineering is concerned with the design, fabrication and operation of electronic circuits, devices and systems.
  • It is an offshoot of electrical engineering. The main difference of electronics from electrical engineering is that electronics deals with low range of voltage, current and power such as micro or milli range, but electrical deals with higher range of voltage, current and power in the order of kilo and mega units. 
Evolution of Electronics
  • Electronics finds applications in each and every field of day to day life such as communications, entertainment, instrumentation, medical science, defense, education, industry etc.
  • The evolution of electronics is mainly through three key components : vacuum tube, transistor and the integrated circuit. 
  • In 1883, Thomas Alva Edison discovered that electrons will flow from one metal conductor to another through vacuum. This phenomenon is called as the Edison effect.
Thomas Alva Edison

  • In 1904, John Ambrose Fleming applied the Edison effect in inventing a two element electron tube vacuum diode. Following this, Lee De Forest developed a three element tube called vacuum triode in 1906.
John Ambrose Fleming
  • This invention of vacuum triode by Lee de Forest in 1906 was the real beginning of electronics. These vaccum tubes helped to process electrical signals. They were used in radio communications., telegraph, telephone etc. Vaccum tubes were made mainly for communication technology before World War II. Radio was the primary form of education and entertainment which was invented by Marconi. In 1927, Bell Laboratories demonstrated the first television.
Lee De Forest
  • In 1947, the transistor was invented by a team of Nobel laureates. John Bardeen, Walter Brattain and William Shockley of Bell Laboratories. Invention of transistor was a significant landmark of modern electronics.  This invention revolutionized electronic industry due to its feature such as light weight, less power, reliability, low cost etc. Invention of transistor reduced the electronic devices. Demonstration of first colour television happened in 1950 and unipolar field effect transistor was invented by shockley in 1952.
  • Another breakthrough happened in 1956 when Bell Laboratories developed the thyristor, also known as Silicon Controlled Rectifier (SCR). This generated new era of power electronics when General Electric Company commercialized it.
  • In 1958, Jack Kilby of Texas Instruments introduced the idea of Integrated Circuit in which large number of electronic components could be fabricated together on a single chip. This marked the beginning of new phase of microelectronics revolution.
Jack Kilby
  • As the technology advanced, the number of components fabricated on a chip also increased. This advancement in chip fabrication is accordingly called Small Scale Integration (SSI), Medium Scale Integration (MSI), Large Scale Integration (LSI), Very Large Scale Integration (VLSI), and Ultra Large Scale Integration (ULSI). This resulted in very small, low power, more efficient electronic devices such as computers, mobile phones etc. 
  • Following the developments in the integrated circuits, microprocessor became a reality. Four-bit microprocessor was developed by Intel in 1971, eight-bit microprocessor in 1972 and giga-bit memory chip in 1995.



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