If I were to ask you what the most important
advancement humankind has ever made. What would you say? Many would make the case for
fire, our species was in an evolutionary rut until we harnessed it’s power. It gave us
the warmth to survive harsh winters, it’s light extended our day, it’s destructive
powers gave us a weapon against predators and it allowed us to cook our food which allowed
our brains to grow. Our discovery of fire transformed not only our technologies, but
our culture and way of life. But, I would argue that we are currently living
in a time of equal or even greater change. We are living in an time of incredible growth,
one that has already started to transform the way we live our lives. The age of information.
With 40% of our world’s population currently connected to the internet, the human race
is more intertwined than ever before. But what led to this amazing tool. What single
invention gave rise to our smartphone equipped generation? The transistor. The transistor is information itself, even
this video is just a series of ones and zeros beaming across the planet to be interpreted
by the processors in your computers. Without the transistor, I wouldn’t have access to
the wealth of information online to do my research, I wouldn’t be able to use my animation
software to make these videos and I most certainly wouldn’t have been able to share it here
for the world to see. The transistor is so simple, but it is the
foundation for all our modern computers. To understand it’s impact we need to understand
the history and science behind it. Before the transistor existed, we used vacuum
tubes. Which were these bulky evacuated glass bulbs. The triode vacuum tube consisted of
three parts, the cathode, grid and anode. A current is passed through the cathode and
it begins to heat up, causing it to release electrons, as the gases have been removed
from the tube the electrons have very little resistance to their movement and they are
attracted to the positively charged anode. This completes the circuit and a current flows.
But we can manipulate this flow of electrons in many useful ways with the grid. For example we can use it as a switch, if
we place a light bulb here it will only light up when there is a positive voltage across
the grid. If we apply a negative voltage the negative charge will repel electrons trying
to pass through. This is the foundation for binary coding, which is the 1s and 0s that
gave birth to the age of information. Here 1 is a positive voltage and 0 is a negative
voltage. 1 turns the light on, 0 turns it off. The world’s first general purpose electronic
computer, The ENIAC, used 18 thousand vacuum tubes to perform calculations. Designed by
John Mauchly & J. Presper Ekert, it was completed in 1945. It was purpose built to calculate
trajectories for artillery during world war 2. A calculation that would take a human a
day to calculate, took ENIAC 30 minutes. But this thing weighed 30 tonnes and took up an
entire room. It was incredibly power hungry, as the vacuum tubes cathodes needed to be
heated to work, which also meant that the vacuum tubes burnt out regularly and needed
to be replaced. All this to perform a function that your phone
basically does within Angry Birds. Today it’s computing power could be contained on a silicon
chip no larger than a grain of sand and that is thanks to the transistor. A modern phone
has around 2 billion transistors, which perform the exact same job as the vacuum tube, but
on a nanoscale. Let’s look at how it works. Many of you will recognise the transistor
as one of these, but this is a through hole transistor that you can buy from hobby electronics
stores for your DIY projects. The transistors in your CPU are microscopic and are manufactured
with incredible precision with machines on thin wafers of silicon crystal that are sliced
off silicon ingots, like this. So what makes silicon so special that an entire
section of the San Francisco Bay area has been nicknamed after the material. Silicon is a semiconductor, which means that
its conducting properties can be tailored by introducing impurities to the crystal structure.
Silicon has 4 electrons in it’s valence shell, this is the outermost orbit for electrons
and it determines many of the chemical properties of the atom. Atoms want 8 electrons in that
shell, as this makes them very stable. So silicon readily forms covalent bonds to 4
neighbouring silicon atoms to gain those extra electrons. Now if we introduce those impurities to this
pure silicon crystal, we can change how it conducts a current. If we add phosphorus,
which has 5 electrons in it’s valence shell, the extra electron is left free to roam the
crystal structure. This extra electron makes the N-type negatively charged, which where
the name comes from. The P-type is positively charge because it is doped with Boron, which
has three electrons in it’s valence shell. This structure wants to gain it’s final
electron and will steal electrons from its neighbouring atoms, this creates a mobile
positive charge, called a hole. The conductivity of material has thus been increased as we
have increased the number of mobile charges. When we arrange n-type and p-type semiconductors
like this and attach terminals to each, we create the world’s most prevalent transistor.
The NPN transistor. The transistor works due to the interaction of those free electrons
and holes at the n-type and p-type junction. Free electrons in the n-type will migrate
over to fill those holes in the p-type. This creates a boundary layer called the depletion
layer which prevents more electrons passing through, due to the negative charges repelling
each other. But, when a positive voltage is applied to the base it negates that depletion
layer and allows current to flow through, completing the circuit. As you can see this
is very similar to the function of the vacuum tube.
So how exactly does this allow computers to perform all these complex functions that we
see today. Let’s look at a very basic example. Let’s add two numbers together. First we
need to learn how numbers are represented in binary, that’s the 1’s and 0’s that
are used to store data. This is the number 15, which is the largest number you can represent
with 4 bits.. The first bit represents 1, the next represents 2, then 4 and finally
8, added up that equals 5. This pattern continues with each successive bit representing double
the previous, so if we add an additional bit we can count up to 31. Let’s add 5 and 6 together. To do this we
want a circuit that will hold a 1 in this position when either are 1 and carry the 1
forward when both are 1, as you can see this will give us the number 11. The simplest circuit
that can do this is a half adder. Which contains two types of logic gates, these are devices
that can modify the binary code, they are built using transistors. The first is the
XOR logic gate, which gives a 1 only when one of the inputs is one, if both are 0 or
1 it gives a 0. The second Logic gate is an AND gate, which gives a 0 for everything except
when both inputs are 1. If we wire these logic gates like this we create a half adder, which
gives two outputs our Sum and our Carry. Which allows us to add our binary number one bit
at a time. A more complicated circuit is needed to perform the calculation in one step. Modern computers can perform millions of these
calculations per second and they are still getting faster. The Co-founder of Intel Gordon
E. Moore noticed a trend in 1965 that the density of transistors on integrated circuits
doubles every two years, that trend has held until very recently, but it is starting to
slow down. One of the reasons for this is the less well
known of Moore’s predictions, Moore’s second law or Rocks law, which states that
the cost of manufacturing these devices will double every 4 years. Intel made an announced
last year, that the rate of advancement was slowing for these reasons, it’s getting
more and more difficult for chip manufacturers to shrink their product while maintaining
profit. Another problem that transistors are facing
is quantum tunneling. As these transistors get smaller, so do the barriers between different
sections. The barriers between each section of the transistor are getting so thin, that
electrons can pass right through them. With no definitive successor to the silicon
transistor lined up this incredible period of growth over the last 50 years could plateau
in the near future. Some want to harness quantum mechanics to perform calculations faster than
any transistor ever could, others want to decentralise computing with the so called
internet of things. Intel have said themselves that they plan to shift their focus from increases
in speed to decreases in power consumption. One thing is for sure, the computer industry
will have to redefine itself in the near future. Thanks for watching! Thanks to your incredible
response to their last sponsorship TheGreatCoursesPlus have sponsored me once again. So thank you
to all my subscribers, patreon supporters and TheGreatCoursesPlus for helping Real Engineering
exist. If you enjoy my videos you will definitely like TheGreatCoursePlus. They have over 7000
different lectures from world renowned educators. They have a huge range of topics, if you would
like to learn more about electronics they even have a course for that or you can learn
about photography, chess and cooking. These courses give you indepth knowledge of a variety
of subjects, while allowing you to learn at your own pace without tests or exams. You
can get a free one month trial by going to the TheGreatCoursesPlus.com/RealEngineering
If you would like to see more content or support real engineering the links for my Patreon,
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Transistors – The Invention That Changed The World
Tagged on:                                             

100 thoughts on “Transistors – The Invention That Changed The World

  • August 21, 2019 at 6:15 am
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    Just download more RAM

    Reply
  • August 21, 2019 at 4:33 pm
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    5:58 Can anybody explain how the output forms in this step. I'm too lazy to do it

    Reply
  • August 22, 2019 at 4:41 am
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    To fast. Greetz from Switzerland Second 🇨🇭

    Reply
  • August 22, 2019 at 1:55 pm
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    Unlimited energy via magnets free energy people wake up, we shouldn't be paying for energy or water or fruit or vegetables

    Reply
  • August 23, 2019 at 7:45 am
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    Wow, what an informative and interesting video! You gained a subscriber 🙂

    Reply
  • August 23, 2019 at 6:00 pm
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    Good thing i took some IT course, otherwise i would not understand what he said.

    People if you don't know what he is talking about then watch crashcourse computer science.

    Reply
  • August 24, 2019 at 5:45 am
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    Visit 👉 Vintage-ic.com.

    Reply
  • August 24, 2019 at 5:51 am
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    It's actually quite strange to think of transistor when I'm a Fallout series fan, as transistor were never invented in its fictional timeline and everything's still futuristic without actually feeling exactly like that because of this…

    Reply
  • August 24, 2019 at 6:34 am
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    Grafeno is the future, my poor little child

    Reply
  • August 28, 2019 at 7:11 am
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    Transistor as I know, is used mainly as Switch and Amplifier in most DYI project.

    But to really understand them,
    I think we have to touch them in experiment,
    else it will always remains … blurry definition.
    Especially when combine with Logic gate to form calculation and then… CPU.

    Reply
  • August 29, 2019 at 4:49 pm
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    Is there a carbon+4 carbon-4 diode?

    Reply
  • August 29, 2019 at 11:50 pm
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    War by far is our best invention, how else would we take other peoples shit

    Reply
  • August 31, 2019 at 12:37 pm
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    KlCC

    Reply
  • August 31, 2019 at 10:36 pm
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    clear as mud

    Reply
  • September 1, 2019 at 11:33 am
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    Maybe if we didn't invent transistors, we may invented very small vac tubes.

    Reply
  • September 1, 2019 at 7:44 pm
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    1947+ufo+human= Transistors …

    Reply
  • September 2, 2019 at 11:31 am
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    thanx sir you are gud motivator & trainer..

    Reply
  • September 3, 2019 at 8:33 am
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    its ELECTRICITY, transistor exist bcz of electricity. Almost everything we use on daily basis is bcz of electricity.

    Reply
  • September 3, 2019 at 3:22 pm
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    I feel dumb

    Reply
  • September 4, 2019 at 7:29 am
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    Colossus was a set of computers developed by British codebreakers in the years 1943–1945 to help in the cryptanalysis of the Lorenz cipher.

    Reply
  • September 4, 2019 at 6:38 pm
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    Daaaaaaamn.

    Reply
  • September 5, 2019 at 1:01 am
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    This, plus search engines.

    Reply
  • September 8, 2019 at 1:32 pm
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    Transistors, the greatest invention of all time
    keeps showing resistors in the video

    Reply
  • September 9, 2019 at 8:51 pm
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    Amazing job!

    Reply
  • September 10, 2019 at 12:08 pm
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    Settings => playback speed => 85 = 🙂

    Reply
  • September 10, 2019 at 6:14 pm
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    Even technology got woke enough for trans-sisters xD

    Reply
  • September 10, 2019 at 10:48 pm
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    I would say the greatest innovation of mankind was agriculture, before agriculture there was no such thing as civilisation.

    Reply
  • September 11, 2019 at 3:32 pm
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    I see Malaysia

    Reply
  • September 12, 2019 at 5:47 am
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    fire: exists
    brain: acceleration. yes

    Reply
  • September 14, 2019 at 5:28 pm
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    Nice

    Reply
  • September 14, 2019 at 5:36 pm
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    too fast,
    u know whut i mean,

    Reply
  • September 14, 2019 at 7:58 pm
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    As a mechanic engineer, all electrical engineering is black magic

    Reply
  • September 15, 2019 at 4:19 pm
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    And three years later, Intel is still trying to market their CPUs as the strongest, yet they consume up to 95 watts, compared to AMDs CPUs that match, or out perform Intel's CPUs, that only consume 35 watts at max.

    Reply
  • September 15, 2019 at 11:55 pm
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    The world managed fairly well without electronics, but the invention of the electric telegraph meant you didn't have to send a guy on a horse, or a homing pigeon or smoke signals. Fire and the wheel were the greatest advances for civilization. The internet is good, like clothes, shoes, medicines, boats aircraft road transport etc, and food products, but we managed without them for a very long time.

    Reply
  • September 16, 2019 at 3:01 am
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    First thing that came to my mind was a diode not a transistor.

    Reply
  • September 16, 2019 at 6:46 am
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    1-2 years ago was some news about using single carbon atom as a transistor. With evolving carbon nano tubes it might be "Transistor 2" invention. And what about quantum computers and cubits?

    Reply
  • September 16, 2019 at 11:34 am
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    Electricity: hold my beer 🍻

    Reply
  • September 17, 2019 at 3:55 am
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    3:55 n-types are not negatively charged as they still contain the same number of electrons and protons. The n in the name simply refers to the valence electrons that can move inside the crystal structure

    Reply
  • September 17, 2019 at 10:40 am
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    Fair play.

    Reply
  • September 18, 2019 at 1:58 am
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    That's just insane. It's complicated and not, at the same time

    Reply
  • September 19, 2019 at 9:15 am
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    Awesome illustation for an Electrical Engineer like me (I barely remembered this stuff after 5 years of working in different field). I would recommend to open up explanations more and a bit of more time to comprehend to let others benefit from your great content.

    Reply
  • September 20, 2019 at 7:14 am
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    Is this Conor. The Traveller?I think it is .That slight accent gives you away. Nice work here Thank you

    Reply
  • September 20, 2019 at 3:43 pm
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    5:02 B U R G E R K I N G F O O T L E T T U C E

    Reply
  • September 21, 2019 at 10:18 pm
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    5:43 Im learning that at college right now and now I understand thanks you. My teacher explained it differently I had difficulty understanding lol.

    Reply
  • September 22, 2019 at 3:00 am
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    I used to work for Texas Instruments in the 70's making the silicon disc memory chips in Lubbock Tx. It was awesome.

    Reply
  • September 22, 2019 at 4:32 pm
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    The ENIAC was not the first electronic computer but rather it was colossus from Bletchley park and was used to break the Lorenz cipher during ww2

    Reply
  • September 22, 2019 at 7:01 pm
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    Confused the shit out of me! More learning for this wizz kid ! ! LOL

    Reply
  • September 23, 2019 at 11:40 am
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    Be studying computer science next year, this video is goal

    Reply
  • September 24, 2019 at 7:33 am
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    Imagine filming a copy of this onto analog film, and sending the film back in time to the early 1930's.
    What would happen?

    Reply
  • September 24, 2019 at 5:51 pm
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    soooo, we bassicaly thought rocks to calculate, talk and show us things?

    Reply
  • September 24, 2019 at 8:05 pm
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    My brain hurts 🤕

    Reply
  • September 24, 2019 at 9:39 pm
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    The invention of the transistor was a springboard for the integrated circuit or chip. This has enslaved countless people who are now addicted to their apple gadgets. Soon, there will be addicted people flying down the beltway texting while smoking pot. And naturally, your automobile insurance premiums will soar. Not to fear though, the emergency squad has a hand-held computer with GPS and the jaws of life will pry you out of your Toyota quickly. Isn't technology wonderful?

    Reply
  • September 25, 2019 at 3:20 am
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    Roswell crash in 1947… Hm…..

    Reply
  • September 27, 2019 at 8:44 pm
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    Wow, I had no idea It was so simple, yet so useful!

    Reply
  • September 29, 2019 at 2:22 am
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    So, what is it?

    Reply
  • September 29, 2019 at 2:36 am
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    negative chairges

    Reply
  • September 29, 2019 at 5:37 pm
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    Horrible video. Explanations are lacking.

    Reply
  • September 29, 2019 at 7:24 pm
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    Flux capacitor wins

    Reply
  • September 30, 2019 at 3:37 pm
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    Wish i could have found this video 4 hours ago…..i would have done super well in my cs paper..

    Reply
  • October 2, 2019 at 8:57 am
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    The education in my country is so fuckin distusting and complicated that I had to use my brain at fullest to understand those but to no avail, but here i understood everything.

    Reply
  • October 2, 2019 at 1:19 pm
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    Complicated presentation + High speed speech…

    Reply
  • October 5, 2019 at 2:43 am
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    I don’t get a fuck you’re saying. Explain simple, I’m not planning on making electronics.

    Reply
  • October 6, 2019 at 12:23 am
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    Music at the end of the video, where did it come from?

    Reply
  • October 6, 2019 at 9:59 am
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    2024 : we go again

    Reply
  • October 6, 2019 at 11:17 am
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    Yes.
    Essential innovation to the world.
    FIRE.
    ELECTRICITY.
    TRANSISTOR.
    WWW and/or INTERNET.

    Reply
  • October 6, 2019 at 5:55 pm
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    It is unbeknownst to be that the transistor got less credit then the theory of relativity etc.Really?without it in 2019 there is sadly no communication.?

    Reply
  • October 8, 2019 at 2:04 am
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    I love that I understand all of this now that I'm in my third year of engineering

    Reply
  • October 8, 2019 at 7:30 am
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    the integrated circuit. it was present even in the tube age. got some of my father still. it was a very small board in an alumin can. with resistors capacitors and small coils it turned into the chip of today and it included transistors and turned smaller and smaller.

    Reply
  • October 8, 2019 at 10:22 am
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    The most important advancement humankind has ever made is the Thermos. I keeps hot liquids hot. It keeps cold liquids cold. How do it know?

    Reply
  • October 8, 2019 at 11:46 pm
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    So what’s a transistor then

    Reply
  • October 9, 2019 at 9:25 pm
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    Are you serious? You're misleading millions of people with your ignorance and stupidity. Bipolar NPN transistors aren't the ones that our computers and all other devices are using and they work quite differently from the ones actually used.
    You should educate yourself about the MOSFET transistor and delete this misleading video.

    Reply
  • October 10, 2019 at 3:19 am
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    Electricy is the most foundation of modern era idiot

    Reply
  • October 10, 2019 at 6:28 am
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    Adding phosphorus doesn't make the crystal negatively charged, and adding boron doesn't make it positively charged, because phosphorus also has one more proton, and boron has one less.
    Since phosphorus has one spare electron and boron has one missing in order to have the perfect 8 electrons, electrons from the phosphorus travel towards the boron atoms. THEN the crystal with phosphorus is positively charged, and the one with boron is negatively charged. It's the other way around of what you said.

    Reply
  • October 10, 2019 at 10:46 am
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    From cathode to anode or from anode to cathode? Please clarify

    Reply
  • October 10, 2019 at 11:50 am
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    I have seriously heard enough of this "information age" talk. The invention of the telephone was by far more disrupting than the invention of the internet. Also we have only seen a glimpse of the "age of information"
    I like and appreciate the info provided here but i think you almost overestimate the impact of the transistor especially in the beginning. I don't want to say yhe transistor isn't one of the biggest inventions of mankind. I just want to point out that the technological progress was far more disrupting and mind blowing in the 1800's than it was in the 1900's.

    Reply
  • October 10, 2019 at 1:33 pm
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    Sometimes i feel like you going way too faster when you explaining or im just slow….

    Reply
  • October 10, 2019 at 3:15 pm
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    a transistor isnt exactly working like you mentioned it….one depletion layer stays like it is, while a current is applied to the base and the electrons get sucked throug it , this is called the transistor effect.

    Reply
  • October 11, 2019 at 12:13 am
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    I'm so stoned, I hope I retain some of this info

    Edit: nope

    Reply
  • October 11, 2019 at 4:17 am
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    I have spent years trying find a documentary ,or an interview of HOW the leap of brilliance,to trying making a transistor, as it is way way way out of the box thinking,all electronics before,were vacuum tubes,and how anyone came up with the idea of using sand to make a semiconductor and dope with various elements, is like someone inventing a car with a fuel injected engine when we still had stationary steam engines,before we even had a steam train

    Reply
  • October 11, 2019 at 12:16 pm
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    Nice … I understand easily with these vid than my teacher lol

    Reply
  • October 11, 2019 at 8:51 pm
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    You never mentioned who invented it or was it back-engineered from Roswell wreckage?

    Reply
  • October 12, 2019 at 4:50 am
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    Transistors didnt modify computers its nano technology. Without nano technology transistors would still be bigger

    Reply
  • October 12, 2019 at 7:16 am
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    and 80% or more of our information is completely useless…. spam email…..

    Reply
  • October 12, 2019 at 11:32 am
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    Can anyone help to explain how moving to IoT will help to advance the computer technology we have nowadays?

    Reply
  • October 12, 2019 at 4:41 pm
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    Best invention? Drugs… yes gotta have drugs

    Reply
  • October 13, 2019 at 3:29 am
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    In your video *NO SHIT 💩 * like others…
    Only Explanation to the point 👉…
    Thumbs up 👍 for you…

    Reply
  • October 13, 2019 at 3:39 pm
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    Ahh, I understood the simple binary foundation part and that was about it 😂

    Reply
  • October 13, 2019 at 4:37 pm
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    sksjaidhjssbsjjdixisjs9siwie0fjdbcunsoduc9qfvd8wjd0duwnidu-€€-&u/u$g&7sushUHahsih^@€€h&#&€h&hskyx&@_&♤,♤,{○♤☆♤☆{,♡♤h€@&h

    Reply
  • October 13, 2019 at 11:42 pm
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    The speed of processing is set to sky rocket, they are a couple of new technologies in the pipeline the most existing one is photonics

    Reply
  • October 15, 2019 at 1:47 pm
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    thanks

    Reply
  • October 15, 2019 at 5:13 pm
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    Transistors = Impressive…. Electricity = more impressive

    Reply
  • October 16, 2019 at 10:02 pm
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    Excellent informative video but I have 2 questions….
    How do transistors work?
    And how do they make computers work?😁

    Reply
  • October 17, 2019 at 8:12 am
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    Vaccum tubes are bulky? So that’s why that watch from 2025 is bigger than my 4k tv

    Reply
  • October 17, 2019 at 5:53 pm
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    I'd say writing or agriculture, but yeah transistors are pretty close

    Reply
  • October 17, 2019 at 10:28 pm
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    the wheel

    Reply
  • October 18, 2019 at 1:48 am
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    Uhhh there’s like thousands of inventions that changed the world. This one ain’t in the top 20. Sorry dude.

    Reply
  • October 18, 2019 at 3:02 pm
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    The video is so fast for a newcomer to understand the binary system

    Reply
  • October 18, 2019 at 9:11 pm
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    Change da world, my final message goodbye

    Reply
  • October 19, 2019 at 1:40 am
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    The wheel.

    Reply
  • October 19, 2019 at 2:14 am
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    Alien technology

    Reply

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