Last Updated on October 25, 2023 by Electricalvolt
Electronics Engineering can be defined as the knowledge and art of harnessing the power of electrons by using a device or system to get some important functions done.
Any functional system needs a set of components and their interconnection or synchronization to get the desired result. In an electronic system, components like inductors, capacitors, resistors, and semiconductor devices like Diac, Triac, Diode, etc. are present. Electronics Engineering deals with their interoperability and interconnection to get a desired output.
In a highly sophisticated system, additional semiconductor devices called LOGIC GATES help us simulate real-world logic in an electronic device to make it smarter and user-friendly.
Microprocessors and microcontrollers take highly abstract user inputs and control the operation of these sophisticated systems to get desired outputs. All of this is what Electronics Engineering is concerned with.
However, with the rise in technology, we can’t set a threshold on what comes under the ambit of Electronics Engineering. Inventions and innovations in the field of electronics engineering have taken quantum leaps and continue to do so.
Let’s have a basic understanding of the different electronic components an electronic device is comprised of.
Components Used in Electronics Engineering
Electronic components can be defined as the basic building blocks of modern-day electronic devices. Their integration based on their working and circuital laws helps us get desired functions from these devices. Here are some of the fundamental electronic components that are used widely:
Resistors are passive components, i.e., they don’t need an external power source to function, and they don’t control the circuit actively. Resistors are connected in parallel and series to control the current and voltage, respectively, as required. Resistors are also used as diverters, like shunt and bleeder resistors. The resistance of a resistor is measured in Ohms and denoted as Ω. Metal film, carbon film, and surface-mounted resistors are widely used in electronics engineering.
Capacitors are energy-storing devices, and they are widely used in electronics engineering. Capacitors can hold electrical charges as well as release them as required. These consist of two conductive plates separated by an insulator. Both the plates hold opposite charges when a potential difference is applied against them.
In an electronic circuit, capacitors are used for voltage control at the output, filtering of the input signal to a safe limit, and timing the circuit by delaying the flow of charge as required. Capacitance is measured in Farads (F).
The inductor is also an energy-storing component. When a current passes through an inductor, it generates a magnetic field and stores the electrical energy in that field.
For a static DC current, an inductor behaves like a short-circuit path, but for a time-varying electric current, the magnetic field generated by the inductor is such that it opposes the flow of current through it. This feature makes the inductor a good filter for input current. Inductance is measured in Henry (H).
Electronics Engineering Key Component- Diode:
A Diode is a semiconductor device made in such a way that it allows the flow of current through it in only one direction, i.e., from Anode to Cathode, while blocking the same in the opposite direction subject to the maximum tolerable voltage or breakdown voltage.
The diode is used for rectification of AC voltage to DC voltage, voltage regulation, isolation between output and input circuits, and signal modulation. The diodes are used in various applications in electronics engineering.
Light Emitting Diode(LED):
The light-emitting diode(LED) is an important component of electronics engineering. The Diodes emit light when current passes through them. LED is used in lighting applications, digital display boards, indicators, etc.
Electronics Engineering Key Component–Transistors:
Transistors are active semiconductor devices used for switching applications in electronics engineering or amplifying an electronic signal. Transistors are three-pin devices consisting of the Emitter, Base, and Collector.
Switching can be done by controlling the Base voltage as required. Bipolar Junction Transistors (BJT), MOSFET, Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistors (IGBT), etc., are some examples of commonly used transistors.
Power Electronics Engineering Component– Thyristor:
A thyristor is a power component of electronics engineering. A Thyristor is a three-pin semiconductor device primarily used in power electronic-based applications. The three pins are Anode, Cathode, and Gate. The thyristor works precisely like a Diode except that it needs a positive voltage across the Gate terminal and is positively biased to start conduction.
This allows the average voltage control within the circuit by timing the gate voltage connection. Thyristors, also called Controlled Rectifiers, are widely used in motor speed control applications, charging circuits, controlled rectification, etc.
Transformers are devices that transfer electrical power inductively from one side to the other through the magnetic field with physical isolation between both sides. The physical isolation between the two sides (primary and secondary side) helps in the efficient transfer of power with minimum loss and also provides safety by separating the two parts of the circuits.
While there are different types of transformers available, the ones that are majorly used in electronic circuits are – Radio-Frequency type (RF Type), Audio Transformer, and Pulse Transformer.
These transformers are used for impedance matching to transfer maximum power, DC isolation between two circuits, step-up or step-down voltage or current by keeping the power constant, interfacing between balanced and unbalanced circuits, etc.
A fuse is a safety device used in an electronic circuit to protect it against an over-current situation that may arise due to a fault like a short circuit. In case of a fault like that, the fuse breaks open the circuit and stops the flow of current through the electronic circuit, thus protecting the important components on the electronic board. In electronics engineering, the slow blow fuses are mounted on the printed circuit board for circuit protection.
Integrated Circuits (IC):
An integrated circuit is a miniaturized arrangement of transistors, resistors, and capacitors on a single board. These ICs are used to perform complex functions by appropriately programming them and making external connections to the pins provided with them. IC555 is one of the most important examples of an Integrated Circuit used in timing-based applications. Integrated circuits, or ICs, are an important part of electronics engineering.
A microcontroller is a small computer on a single chip. It is used for controlling devices and systems in sophisticated applications. Microcontrollers take abstract inputs from the operator or the user and control the electronic circuits to obtain the desired output. In modern electronics engineering, microcontrollers are widely used and essential devices for an electronic circuit.
These are some of the fundamental electronic components used in an electronic system.
Importance and Future of Electronics Engineering
Electronic engineering has become an integral and inalienable part of modern-day society. It has an impeccable impact on education, healthcare, communication, automation, entertainment, etc.
Electronics engineering has transformed the mode of communication over time. From sending out physical letters to instant messaging services and E-mails, real-time access and transfer of information over the internet, from telephonic conversations to video-based calls, electronics have drastically transformed the way of communication.
Electronics has led to the automation of various functions in industries to remove physical human labor and human error. This has led to an increase in production and the accuracy of the manufactured products, thus creating good windfalls for the businesses and overall economic growth.
Medicine and Healthcare have been transformed due to the introduction of electronics engineering in this sector. Medical devices like Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), wearable health trackers, pacemakers, etc., are the result of the advancement of electronics in the field of healthcare.
Electronics has also transformed the transportation sector and is continuing to do so. Electric Vehicles, High-speed railways, GPS-based navigation, etc. are to name a few.
Clean and Renewable Energy:
With the rise in awareness about the conservation of the environment, the use of clean and renewable energy is also on the rising trend. Electronics has played a crucial role in harnessing renewable energy from sources like solar and wind. From photo-voltaic cells to semiconductor-based power circuits, the role of electronics in the renewable sector is indispensable.
Future of Electronics Engineering:
The field of electronics is wide and open to many inventions and innovations. Future technologies like Artificial Intelligence(AI), Machine Learning(ML), Internet of Things(IoT), etc. are all dependent on electronics.
Concerns and Disadvantages of Electronics Engineering
The rapid rise in the use of electronic devices has also contributed to the exponential rise in electronic waste. Without proper guidelines and rules for the disposal of electronic waste, it is going to pose a severe environmental hazard.
The rapid rise in the use of electronics in the field of communication and information gathering has also raised privacy concerns for every individual. Issues like data breaches and surveillance are on the rise and pose a threat to basic human privacy and security.
Over-reliance on electronics can lead to reduced critical thinking skills and physical inactivity. With the use of smartphones and other similar gadgets, people are losing their focus and attention.
Prolonged use of electronic devices like smartphones, tablets, etc. poses health concerns. Prolonged exposure to screens can lead to eye strains, migraines, and disturbance in sleep patterns.
Electronic Engineering Fields
The electronics engineering fields are subdivided into various fields, and each field is unique in terms of its concepts and applications. Electronics engineering comprises the following fields.
Analogue Electronic Engineering:
The initial development after the invention of electronics engineering started with the development of analog electronics. Analog semiconductor devices and integrated circuits are used in analog electronics. The majority of analog circuits, nowadays, have been designed using digital circuits. After the advent of analog to digital converter, designing the circuit using digital circuits has become easy.
Digital Electronics Engineering:
The designing of digital circuits is easy compared to analog electronics. The logic gates, binary counters, multiplexers, demultiplexers, microcontrollers, and microprocessors are parts of digital electronics.
Radio-frequency Electronics Engineering:
Radio-frequency engineering comprises radio, TV, satellite communication systems, mobile phones, Wi-Fi, IoT, and wireless technology. The applications of radio frequency engineering have grown a lot in recent years.
Programmable Logic Electronics Engineering:
The programmable logic electronics engineering simplifies the complex digital circuitry. Using this technology, it has become possible to incorporate large amounts of logic into programmable chips. FPGA and other programable chips can be programmed using high-level design languages like VHDL. The demand for this field is growing because it simplifies the electronics circuitry.
Electronics engineering is widely used to integrate all items to make a system. For example, electronics engineering integrates all mobile phone units, such as a microphone, speaker, microcontroller, Wi-Fi system, and software programming to establish workflow among all devices or units.
Most electronic products like TVs, computers, process automation computers, process automation instruments, PLC, SCADA, energy management systems, electrical protection relays, and many more electronic products have an increasing amount of software. Thus, the software can not work without the use of physical electronic products.
Other fields of electronics engineering are defense electronics, space technology, aeronautical engineering automation and IoT, medical electronics, reliability engineering, condition monitoring, and control systems.
Thus, electronics engineering is both a boon and a bane based on how we use it. Striking a balance between advantages and concerns is of utmost importance for a sustainable future.
This is all about a basic introduction to electronics engineering and its world.