W. Shockley, J. Barden and W. Bratterin invented the transistor in 1947. The term ‘transistor’ is derived from the words ‘transfer’ and ‘resistor.’ These words describe the operation of a BJT which is the transfer of an input signal from a low resistance circuit to a high resistance circuit. In this article, let us learn more about the Bipolar Junction Transistor.
What is a Bipolar Junction Transistor (BJT)?
A bipolar junction transistor is a three-terminal semiconductor device that consists of two p-n junctions which are able to amplify or magnify a signal. It is a current controlled device. The three terminals of the BJT are the base, the collector and the emitter. A signal of small amplitude applied to the base is available in the amplified form at the collector of the transistor. This is the amplification provided by the BJT. Note that it does require an external source of DC power supply to carry out the amplification process.
Bipolar transistors are manufactured in two types, PNP and NPN, and are available as separate components, usually in large quantities. The prime use or function of this type of transistor is to amplify current. This makes them useful as switches or amplifiers. They have a wide application in electronic devices like mobile phones, televisions, radio transmitters and industrial control.
Function of Bipolar Junction Transistor
BJTs are of two types namely NPN and PNP based on doping types of the three main terminals. An NPN transistor consists of two semiconductor junctions that have a thin p-doped anode region and PNP transistor also consists of two semiconductor junctions that have a thin n- doped cathode region.
The flow of charge in a Bipolar transistor is due to the diffusion of charge carriers between the two regions belong to different charge concentrations. Regions of BJT are known as the base, collector, and emitter.
The emitter region is highly doped when compared to other layers. Both collector and base layers have the same charge carrier concentrations. Among these junctions, the base-emitter junction is forward biased, and base-collector junction is reverse biased. Forward biased means p-doped has it contains more potential than the n-doped side.
Voltage, Charge Control and Current
The base-emitter current is controlled by collector-emitter current. This conclusion is drawn by the current-voltage relation of the base-emitter junction. Collector current has a base region where minority carriers are concentrated.
Bipolar Transistors Configurations
Since Bipolar Junction Transistor is a three-terminal device, there are three ways to connect it within an electric circuit while one terminal is the same for both output and input. Every method of connection responds differently to the input signals within a circuit.
- Common Emitter Configuration – has both voltage and current gain
- The common Collector Configuration – has no voltage gain but has a current gain
- The common base configuration – has no current gain but has a voltage gain
Characteristics of different transistor configurations are given in the following table:
|Characteristics||Common Base||Common Emitter||Common Collector|
|Power Gain||low||Very high||medium|
|Output impedance||Very high||high||low|
Frequently Asked Questions
Who invented BJT?
BJT was invented by W.H Brattin, Bardeen and William Shockley.
What are the operating regions of BJT?
The operating regions of BJT are:
- Forward active or active region
- Reverse active or inverted region
What are the applications of BJT?
Following are the applications of Bipolar Junction Transistor:
- It is used as an amplifier
- It is used as an oscillator
- It is used as a demodulator
What happens if the transistor is not biased properly?
Following is the list of consequences if the transistor is not biased properly:
- The work efficiency of the transistor reduces
- There will be a distortion in the output signal
- The operating point may shift
- Transistor parameters will change