Why We Made It.
Two Types of Switches Power Today's World.
But, they're full of compromises
+ Can handle lots of power.
Metal contacts: low loss & great linearity for RF signals.
Can handle high power, eg circuit breakers or RF relays
"On" - doesn't generate heat under high currents
"Off"- air-gap open, fully isolate
- Big, slow, clunky, expensive
Moving parts limit switch rate, speed, and reliability
Manufacturing inconsistencies (some are still assembled by hand).
Sensitive to mechanical shock, vibration, humidity.
+ Small, fast.
Small size allows for lightweight, tighter packing.
Inexpensive to make at scale: semiconductor manufacturing.
Fast, silent switching.
Immune to mechanical shock, vibration, humidity.
- It's a semiconductor, not a conductor.
"On" - non-zero losses, generates heat requiring large heatsinks.
"Off" - always on, leakage currents, waste power.
Non-linear effects of transistor distorts RF signal integrity.