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How Are Solid-State Materials Used in Electronics?

Electronics have established themselves as a somewhat permanent part of our daily lives now, allowing us to light up the night, communicate across the globe with ease, and so much more. As electronics have evolved since the initial inception of harnessing current, many devices have been transformed with newer and more powerful technology. One of the biggest leaps in electronic devices was with the introduction of solid-state materials, the first example being the solid-state transistors introduced to the commercial market in the 1960s. Solid-state materials have many benefits for electrical devices, often increasing performance and reliability while facing less wear and tear as compared to alternatives.

The term “solid-state” comes from the fact that such materials are made from solid pieces of semiconductor materials that allow for electrical signals to pass through. Prior to the introduction of solid-state transistors and other similar components, electricity was commonly routed through elements placed within a heated vacuum tube. While this worked, heated vacuum tubes faced the issue of burnout and breakdowns after a while, making them more susceptible to failure when compared to transistors. With solid-state devices, conductors are used instead to manage the flow of electrical signals within a circuit.

To better understand the differences, it can be useful to have knowledge on how vacuum tubes and transistor amplifiers both work. With a vacuum tube amplifier, the tube will be warmed up before a signal is applied to the grid of the tube, and this will result in an output that has the same frequency but a much higher amplitude. With a transistor amplifier, any small change of the input signal’s amplitude will result in a larger amplitude for the output.

For modern solid-state devices, the conventional rectifier vacuum tubes that were used to change alternating current to direct current have since been replaced by diodes. Incandescent bulbs for creating lighting have also since been replaced with light-emitting diodes (LEDs) which are also considered solid-state devices. As cool-running light options, LEDs can now regularly be found as indicators for computers, monitors, vehicle dashboards, and traffic signals.

Beyond simplistic electronics such as the previously discussed examples, solid-state technology has also allowed for other advances as well, such as within data storage realms. While hard disk drives have long dominated the computer market for the means of permanently storing data, solid-state drives have continued to rise in popularity as their storage capacities grow and prices drop. Unlike hard-disk drives that utilize spinning magnetic platters and an armature to write and read data, solid-state drives have forgone all moving parts, leading to increased speeds, performance, and life spans with low wear and tear over time. While solid-state options can still be more expensive in various markets, their cost is regularly balanced out with their great increase in reliability and performance.

Whether you are in search of solid-state components for aviation electronics, server assemblies, automobile manufacturing, or other such applications, there is no better purchasing platform than ASAP Acquire for procuring all you need. Owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, we present customers access to over 2 billion new, used, obsolete, and hard-to-find parts that have been sourced from top global manufacturers that we trust.

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