Electronic components are essential for electronic devices and machines, as well as measuring tools. They consist of multiple interchangeable parts used in various industries like electrical equipment, radio communications, and instrumentation, including capacitors, transistors, filaments, and diodes.
Electronic components are fundamental building blocks of electronic devices and small machinery, as well as measuring instruments. They are often composed of several parts and are designed to be interchangeable among similar products. These components typically refer to specific parts used in industries such as electrical equipment, radio communications, and instrumentation, encompassing a variety of devices such as capacitors, transistors, filaments, springs, etc., commonly represented by items like diodes.
The array of electronic components includes resistors, capacitors, inductors, potentiometers, vacuum tubes, heat sinks, electromechanical elements, connectors, discrete semiconductor devices, electroacoustic devices, laser devices, electronic display devices, photoelectric devices, sensors, power supplies, switches, micro-special motors, electronic transformers, relays, printed circuit boards (PCBs), integrated circuits (ICs), various circuits, piezoelectric materials, crystal materials, quartz materials, ceramic magnetic materials, substrate materials for printed circuits, specialized electronic functional materials, electronic adhesives (tapes), electronic chemical materials, and related parts and accessories.
To ensure the quality of electronic components, there are international certifications such as the European Union’s CE marking, the United States’ UL certification, Germany’s VDE and TUV certifications, and China’s CQC certification, among others. These certifications, both international and domestic, serve to guarantee that the components meet quality standards.
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The history of electronic components is essentially a condensed version of the history of electronics development. Electronic technology emerged as a new field towards the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, experiencing its most rapid growth and widespread application in the 20th century, becoming a significant symbol of modern scientific and technological advancement.
In 1906, American inventor Lee De Forest introduced the vacuum triode, also known as the electron tube, which became the core of the first generation of electronic products. By the late 1940s, the world saw the birth of the first semiconductor triode, which quickly gained global adoption due to its compact size, portability, energy efficiency, and longevity, largely replacing the electron tube. Towards the end of the 1950s, the first integrated circuit appeared, integrating many transistors and other electronic components onto a single silicon chip, pushing electronic products towards miniaturization. Integrated circuits rapidly evolved from small-scale integration to large-scale and very-large-scale integration, driving electronic products towards higher efficiency, lower energy consumption, greater precision, enhanced stability, and intelligence. The development stages of electronic computers perfectly illustrate the characteristics of the four stages of electronic technology development; therefore, the following discussion will use the evolution of electronic computing as a framework to describe these four stages of electronic technology.
The electronic component industry, which emerged and developed rapidly in the 20th century, has revolutionized the world and changed the way people work and live. The history of electronic components is, in fact, the history of the electronics industry.
In 1906, American Lee De Forest invented the vacuum triode to amplify the electrical currents in telephones. Subsequently, there was a strong anticipation for the emergence of a solid-state device that could serve as a lightweight, inexpensive, and long-lasting amplifier and electronic switch. The birth of the point-contact germanium transistor in 1947 marked a new chapter in the history of electronic devices. However, this type of point-contact transistor had a critical weakness in its unstable contact points. While the point-contact transistor was being developed, the concept of the junction transistor was proposed, but it wasn’t until the ability to create ultra-pure single crystals and control the conductivity type of crystals that junction transistors truly materialized. In 1950, the earliest practical germanium alloy transistor was created. In 1954, the junction silicon transistor was introduced. Following this, the concept of the field-effect transistor was proposed. With the advent and development of materials technologies such as defect-free crystallization and defect control, crystal epitaxial growth techniques, diffusion doping, high-voltage oxide film fabrication, etching, and photolithography, a variety of high-performance electronic devices emerged. Electronic components gradually transitioned from the vacuum tube era to the transistor era and then to the era of large-scale and very-large-scale integrated circuits, eventually forming the semiconductor industry, a representative of high-tech industries.
Due to the demands of social development, electronic devices have become increasingly complex, necessitating reliability, high speed, low power consumption, lightweight, miniaturization, and low cost. After the concept of integrated circuits was proposed in the 1950s, comprehensive technological advancements in materials, devices, and circuit design led to the successful development of the first-generation integrated circuits in the 1960s. The advent of integrated circuits has epoch-making significance in the history of semiconductor development: it spurred progress in copper core technology and computing, leading to historic transformations in various fields of scientific research and the structure of industrial society. The invention of integrated circuits, based on superior scientific and technological achievements, provided researchers with more advanced tools, which in turn led to the creation of many more sophisticated technologies. These advanced technologies further facilitated the emergence of higher-performance, more cost-effective integrated circuits. For electronic devices, smaller size and higher integration mean shorter response times and faster processing speeds; higher transmission frequencies allow for greater amounts of information to be transferred. The semiconductor industry and semiconductor technology are known as the foundations of modern industry and have also developed into a relatively independent high-tech industry.