The discipline of electronics is a part of physics and electrical engineering that deals with the emission, behaviour, and consequences of electrons when they are used in conjunction with electrical equipment. Unlike classical electrical engineering, which only uses passive effects such as resistance, capacitance, and inductance to control electric current flow, electronics makes use of active devices to control electron flow through amplification and rectification. This distinguishes it from other branches of science such as physics.
The growth of contemporary society has been significantly impacted by electronic technology. Electronics was born in 1897 when the electron was discovered. This discovery, together with the creation of the vacuum tube, which was capable of amplifying and rectifying minuscule electrical impulses, heralded the beginning of the electronic era. When Ambrose Fleming and Lee De Forest discovered the diode and the triode respectively in the early 1900s, they revolutionised electrical signal detection by providing a non-mechanical device that could detect tiny electrical voltages such as radio signals from an antenna. Electronuclear technology advanced at a breakneck pace. And by the early 1920s, commercial radio broadcasting and communications were becoming more prevalent, and electronic amplifiers were being employed in a variety of applications as disparate as long distance telephone and the music recording business, among other things.
This was followed by many decades of development until the advent of solid-state electronics was achieved in 1947 with the invention of the first functional semiconductor transistor by William Shockley, Walter Houser Brattain, and John Bardeen. The vacuum tube was no longer the exclusive technique of regulating electron flow; other methods of control were available. Later, in 1959, the MOSFET (MOS transistor) was developed, and it was the first small transistor that could be miniaturised and mass-produced in large quantities. As a result, microelectronics and the Digital Revolution were able to take root and flourish. Electronic devices, such as integrated circuits with thousands or even millions of transistors on a single chip, are now widely utilised in computers, telecommunications, and signal processing.