The Bipolar Junction Transistor - An Electronic Valve


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About this Artwork

This artwork is a mixed media display celebrating the Bipolar Junction Transistor. The Junction transistor was the first reliable transistor. It was invented by William Shockley who was a co-inventor of the original Point Contact transistor. The Point Contact transistor was difficult to produce and was somewhat variable in its operating characteristics. The Junction's solid construction was the key factor in stabilizing the operating characteristics of the transistor. The Junction transistor was built with a grown crystal of negatively doped germanium and positively doped germanium. These alternating areas of negative and positive germanium created the transistor effect. When an input current was drawn from the base lead, which was connected to the p-doped section of the crystal, the switched current was allowed to flow from the emitter lead to the collector lead.

This artwork includes 3 major items. It has an image of the internals (inside the can) of a Bipolar Junction Transistor. On the back are the artist’s signature and a narrative describing the artwork and the Bipolar Junction Transistor. Also, the artwork includes a NOS General Electric 2N78 Bipolar Junction Transistor.

This 2N78 was an early General Electric transistor. This transistor was made over sixty years ago. This germanium transistor was an NPN-type transistor. In the 1950s, this transistor sold for the equivalent of $52 in today’s dollars. Today transistors in integrated chips are less than 12 silicon atoms wide and have a cost of about $2.56… for a billion of them. The triangle on the top of the can is called a Pinch Top. It was a tube where the air in the transistor was vacuumed out, and the tube was "pinched" closed to seal it.


    The artwork is framed in an 11"x14" black shadow box frame, with glass. All framing materials are acid-free. A narrative about the artwork that includes the artist’s signature is placed on the back of the artwork.

    Please note:  The look of the artifacts in the artworks may vary, each piece is unique. The game title in the photographs is on the one you will receive.