A transistor is a three terminal semiconductor component that is used for amplification of weak signals and switching applications. It is also embedded in an integrated circuit. It operates in three regions as active, saturation, and cut-off. In the active region, it works as an amplifier; while in saturation (Fully-ON) and cut-off (Fully-OFF) regions, it operates as a switching device. Its switching operation is common in digital circuits where only “ON” and “OFF” values are relevant. Therefore, a transistor operating in saturation and cut-off modes is referred to as a digital transistor. A digital transistor is a bipolar transistor and consists of an integrated resistor. The integrated resistor is connected in series between the control source and base in order to limit current into the base. Thus, the digital transistor is used for opening or closing of a circuit for low voltage applications owing to its low power consumption. Furthermore, its switching action is expected to be as fast as 1 million times a second, as compared to an electromechanical switch that switches for a maximum six times in a second. Moreover, a transistor switch does not suffer from noise or contact bounce like an electromechanical switch. Furthermore, the manufacturing process of digital transistor is automated, as compared to a relay that needs a work force for manufacturing and assembling. Thus, another advantage of a digital transistor over an electromechanical switch is its cost-effective mass production.
Key factors driving the digital transistor market include its applications as interface circuits, driver circuits, switching loads, control of IC circuits, and inverter circuits in several digital electronic applications. It’s small size and minimal weight allows reliable switching between miniaturized electronic devices at a very low cost. Moreover, the digital transistor dissipates low power and is insensitive to mechanical shocks and vibrations that leads to greater energy efficiency and higher reliability. Thus, significant expansion of the digital electronics industry as well as digital communication is expected to be a major factor driving the digital transistor market.
A key restraint of the digital transistor market is its ability to switch only DC loads. Furthermore, it is capable of reliably handling low voltage and low current loads only, thus being unsuitable to handle high voltage and high frequency operation. Moreover, digital transistors are highly vulnerable to electrostatic discharge in handling and operation and also are sensitive to cosmic rays and radiation. However, in spite of these restraints, digital transistors are expected to be employed extensively owing to the increasing digital electronic applications across the world.
An opportunity that is anticipated to boost the digital transistor market is its usage in logic gates. Increasing demand for smartphones and other digital consumer electronic products is expected to provide future growth opportunities to the digital transistor market, as logic gates are employed in all digital electronic products.
The digital transistor market can be classified based on product type, maximum output current, application, and geography. In terms of product type, the digital transistor market can be segmented into NPN, NPN/PNP, and PNP. Based on maximum output current, the digital transistor market can be segmented into less than 100 mA, 100 mA, and 100mA-500A, and greater than 500A. In terms of application, the digital transistor market can be classified into interface circuits, driver circuits, switching loads, control of IC circuits, and inverter circuits. Based on geography, the digital transistor market can be segmented into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific (APAC), Middle East & Africa (MEA), and South America. North America and Asia Pacific are expected to be highly attractive regions for the digital transistor market owing to the presence of a large number of semiconductor companies in these regions.
Prominent players operating in the digital transistor market include ON Semiconductor, Inc., Diodes Inc., Micro Commercial Components Corporation, Infineon Technologies, Inc., ROHM Semiconductor Inc., NXP Semiconductors N.V., Fairchild Semiconductor International Inc., Toshiba Device Corporation, and STMicroelectronics N.V.