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. As of 2018 most electronic devices use semiconductor components to perform electron control.
Commonly, electronic devices contain circuitry consisting primarily or exclusively 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 study of semiconductor devices and related technology is considered a branch of solid-state physics, whereas the design and construction of electronic circuits to solve practical problems come under electronics engineering. This article focuses on engineering aspects of electronics.
Electronics has branches as follows:
Digital electronics Analogue electronics Microelectronics Circuit design Integrated circuits Power electronics Optoelectronics Semiconductor devices Embedded systems
An electronic component is any physical entity in an electronic system used to affect the electrons or their associated fields in a manner consistent with the intended function of the electronic system. Components are generally intended to be connected together, usually by being soldered to a printed circuit board (PCB), to create an electronic circuit with a particular function (for example an amplifier, radio receiver, or oscillator). Components may be packaged singly, or in more complex groups as integrated circuits. Some common electronic components are capacitors, inductors, resistors, diodes, transistors, etc. Vacuum tubes (Thermionic valves) were among the earliest electronic components. Circuits and components can be divided into two groups: analog and digital. Most analog electronic appliances, such as radio receivers, are constructed from combinations of a few types of basic circuits. Analog circuits use a continuous range of voltage or current as opposed to discrete levels as in digital circuits. The number of different analog circuits so far devised is huge, especially because a 'circuit' can be defined as anything from a single component, to systems containing thousands of components. Analog circuits are sometimes called linear circuits although many non-linear effects are used in analog circuits such as mixers, modulators, etc. Good examples of analog circuits include vacuum tube and transistor amplifiers, operational amplifiers and oscillators. One rarely finds modern circuits that are entirely analog. This type of circuit is usually called "mixed signal" rather than analog or digital. Sometimes it may be difficult to differentiate between analog and digital circuits as they have elements of both linear and non-linear operation. In fact, many digital circuits are actually implemented as variations of analog circuits similar to this example – after all, all aspects of the real physical world are essentially analog, so digital effects are only realized by constraining analog behavior.
Digital circuits are electric circuits based on a number of discrete voltage levels. Digital circuits are the most common physical representation of Boolean algebra, and are the basis of all digital computers. To most engineers, the terms "digital circuit", "digital system" and "logic" are interchangeable in the context of digital circuits. Most digital circuits use a binary system with two voltage levels labeled "0" and "1". Computers, electronic clocks, and programmable logic controllers (used to control industrial processes) are constructed of digital circuits. Digital signal processors are another example. Schmitt triggers Highly integrated devices:
Microprocessors Microcontrollers Application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) Digital signal processor Electronic noise is defined as unwanted disturbances superposed on a useful signal that tend to obscure its information content. Noise is not the same as signal distortion caused by a circuit. Noise is associated with all electronic circuits. Mathematical methods are integral to the study of electronics. To become proficient in electronics it is also necessary to become proficient in the mathematics of circuit analysis. A common analytical tool for this is the SPICE circuit simulator. Also important to electronics is the study and understanding of electromagnetic field theory.
Due to the complex nature of electronics theory, laboratory experimentation is an important part of the development of electronic devices. Today's electronics engineers have the ability to design circuits using premanufactured building blocks such as power supplies, semiconductors (i.e. semiconductor devices, such as transistors), and integrated circuits. Electronic design automation software programs include schematic capture programs and printed circuit board design programs. For instance, early electronics often used point to point wiring with components attached to wooden breadboards to construct circuits. Most modern day electronics now use printed circuit boards made of materials such as FR4, or the cheaper (and less hard-wearing) Electronic systems design deals with the multi-disciplinary design issues of complex electronic devices and systems, such as mobile phones and computers. Electronic systems design is therefore the process of defining and developing complex electronic devices to satisfy specified requirements of the user.
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