Welcome to practical physicsPracticle physics - practical activities designed for use in the classroom with 11 to 19 year olds

From electrons to electronics

Early electronic devices used the behaviour of cathode rays to rectify, amplify and control electric currents. Vacuum tubes with evaporated electrons represented the birth of electronics.

Through the twentieth century, physicists’ growing understanding of electrons and their properties underpinned a new electronics industry. From the invention of the transistor in 1947, the industry burgeoned into the backbone of business and society in the twenty-first century.

In this collection, students can see a ‘valve diode’ in action and follow this up with some measurements on solid state diodes. Other semiconductor components include the thermistor, light dependant resistor and, of course, the transistor, which forms the basis of all modern electronic circuits.  


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