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X-ray of the transistron, a transistor invented independently in France in 1948 by the German physicists Herbert Matare and Heinrich Welker. The now-ubiquitous transistor was unveiled the same year by Shockley, Bardeen and Brattain at Bell Labs in the USA. The X-ray reveals the inner components of the transistron, showing it to be remarkably similar to the transistor. At top, two electrodes contact a sliver of the semiconductor germanium. The third contact (centre) is attached to the other side of the sliver. Transistors are used in practically all electronic devices, as switches, amplifiers and in logic gates.
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