Tiny solid-state semiconductor device that can regulate electric current flowing through it, and whose development launched the electronic age. Commonly made of germanium or silicon layers, a transistor requires very little current to operate and, thus, releases very little heat. Depending upon its configuration, it can be utilized in several ways, such as an amplifier, oscillator, rectifier, and/or switch. Invented in 1947 jointly by the US researchers John Bardeen, Walter Brattain, and William Shockley of Bell Laboratories.
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