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Analog Angle

Is There Still a Vacuum Tube in Your Future?

Bill Schweber
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DaeJ
DaeJ
7/3/2014 9:18:09 AM
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Master
Re: VED usage - still
I guess that vacuum tubes are still used for music amplifiers, but is getting hot quickly and consumes a lot of power. In the future, I expect that there would be alternative transistor generating the same audio quality with less power consumption.  

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samicksha
samicksha
7/1/2014 1:12:57 AM
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Artist
Re: VEDs' Power consumption
I agree you @Netcrawl, I read about the progress made by NASA  which could make Vaccum tubes way back into computers, their research that has put together nanoscale "vacuum channel" transistors that can switch at more than 400GHz. An article i read says ...

The thing that made vacuum tubes so hot and power hungry was the cathode. Electrons can be encouraged to cross gaps by using very high voltages, but these tend to be difficult to work with. Instead, a phenomenon called thermionic emission is used—heat a piece of metal up enough, and the thermal energy lets the electrons escape the metal. Vacuum tubes have heating elements to make the cathode hot enough to emit electrons.

Source: http://arstechnica.com/science/2014/06/nasa-melds-vacuum-tube-tech-with-silicon-to-fill-the-terahertz-gap/


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SachinEE
SachinEE
6/30/2014 8:20:57 PM
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Master
Re: Fabrication
But companies had continued to use them because there were no other alternatives available. The discoverey of silicon immidiately made them switch.

@tzubair, I agree with you. Companies switched from vacuum tubes to transistors when silicon was discovered. I am sure companies would have opted for transistors even if the costs were pretty high compared to vaccum tubes because there are many advantages of transistors over vacuum tubes.


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tzubair
tzubair
6/30/2014 6:07:58 PM
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Master
Re: Fabrication
"Vacuum tubes were bulky and it was hard to manufacture them in large quantities. Moreover vacuum tubes required very heavy voltage to operate where transistor require very low voltage to operate."

@SachinEE: Yeah, there were both push and pull factors. What you mentioned was right about the vaccum tubes. They were difficult to use and a little expensive too. But companies had continued to use them because there were no other alternatives available. The discoverey of silicon immidiately made them switch.

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SachinEE
SachinEE
6/30/2014 2:27:59 PM
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Master
Re: Fabrication
I think the discovery of silicon in a very abundant quanity which could cheaply be refined was the main factor in driving vaccum tubes out.


@tzubair, Discovery of silicon definitely helped to bring the cost of the transistor down but it was not the reason why transistor replaced vacuum tubes. Vacuum tubes were bulky and it was hard to manufacture them in large quantities. Moreover vacuum tubes required very heavy voltage to operate where transistor require very low voltage to operate.


 

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SachinEE
SachinEE
6/30/2014 2:22:27 PM
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Master
Re: VEDs' Power consumption
I still remember when i was kid and first saw vaccum tube in television at my home, i use to think that this is bulb and when this will glow then only i will be able to see some something.


@samicksha, I agree with you. It was fun to watch vacuum tubes when it was switched on. Unfortunately LCD and LED televisions have displaces vacuum tube based televisions. I feel vacuum tube based television was more reliable compared to LCD television.


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SachinEE
SachinEE
6/30/2014 2:04:35 PM
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Master
Re: VEDs' Power consumption
the new technology from NASA could be the solution in today's challenges- a cross betwwen transistors and the vacuum tubes, its smaller and easy to produce


@Netcrawl, I think one more advantage of vacuum tubes is vacuum tubes are generally more faster than transistors because electrons move more slowly in a solid than in a vacuum.


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SachinEE
SachinEE
6/30/2014 1:58:54 PM
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Master
Re: Fabrication
But silicon has some serious weakness, its slow and susceptible to radiation. This is big deal for NASA because they need a more capable technology, able to survive a harsh environment.


@Netcrawl, I am curious to know we can improve the reliability of the existing silicon transistor by using more robust packaging techniques ?


 

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Netcrawl
Netcrawl
6/30/2014 12:09:05 PM
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Master
Re: Fabrication
Vacuum tubes formed the main core of the computing right to the 50s and 60s, but things has changed fast, it suffered a slow death with the discovery and arrival of silicon transistor.

But silicon has some serious weakness, its slow and susceptible to radiation. This is big deal for NASA because they need a more capable technology, able to survive a harsh environment. 

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Netcrawl
Netcrawl
6/30/2014 10:34:41 AM
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Master
Re: VEDs' Power consumption
Vacuum tubes have almost disapeared from our life, they suffered a slow death, their nemesis and replacement -solid state transistors are easier to manufacture, much cheaper, last longer, much smaller, consumer less power and can be packed into microchips.  

But recent development at NASA, shows great sign of life for vacuum tubes, the new technology from NASA could be the solution in today's challenges- a cross betwwen transistors and the vacuum tubes, its smaller and easy to produce and radiation-proof. A whole new exciting development from NASA. 

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