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Electrolytic Analog Transistor

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2 Author(s)
Letaw, Harry ; Electrical Engineering Research Laboratory, University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois ; Bardeen, John

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The electrolytic analog transistor is an operating model of the junction transistor which substitutes the reduced and oxidized forms of ions in solution for electrons and holes in a semiconductor. A base electrode makes a low‐resistance contact to the solution and also serves to maintain the ratio of oxidized and reduced ions at an equilibrium value, thus establishing the potential of the solution. In P‐N‐P operation, a polarizable metal electrode (the emitter) is held at such a potential above the base electrode that the majority ions, the reduced form, are readily oxidized at its surface. An identical electrode, the collector, is placed within a few tenths of a millimeter of the emitter. It is biased in such a way that the minority ions (the oxidized form) which diffuse from the emitter to its surface are reduced. Utilizing several oxidation‐reduction couples and different base electrodes, it has been found that values of α = - (∂Ic/∂Ie)vc in the neighborhood of unity can be obtained. Because of the relatively low mobilities of ions in solution, the device operates only at low frequencies. The device may also have some application as a constant current element in transistor bias circuits.

Published in:

Journal of Applied Physics  (Volume:25 ,  Issue: 5 )

Date of Publication:

May 1954

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