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A Study of the Neon Bulb as a Nonlinear Circuit Element

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1 Author(s)
Hendrix, C. ; US Naval Ordinance Test Station, China Lake, CA

The ordinary NE-2 neon bulb possesses two-valued properties which make it valuable for use in logical gate circuits such as are used in digital computers. The cost of the NE-2 is of the order of $0.05 compared to an average unit cost of $1.00 for germanium diodes. In the logical gate application, circuit performance is relatively insensitive to parameter variations among bulbs. Both "or" and "and" gates, and combinations thereof can be built, and operation up to 30 kc easily obtained. Statistical studies of bulbs point out that the aging effects to be expected are a rise in voltage drop across the bulb and a reduction in the variability among bulbs. The change appears rather suddenly, after about 1000 milliampere-hours of operation. Equivalent circuits are presented, and simple circuit design techniques have been worked out.

Published in:

Component Parts, IRE Transactions on  (Volume:3 ,  Issue: 2 )

Date of Publication:

Sep 1956

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