digital-clockDigital electronics is the backbone of electronics. Since analog electronic devices failed to meet growing challenges like performance and efficiency, this created the need to transform it into digital electronics. Computers, satellite, medicine, and agriculture are few of the various known fields that have advanced due to their digitization.

What is Digital Electronics?

It is the branch of electronics that deals with digital circuits and devices. It’s based on binary digits 1 and 0. This means that these devices work on only two states On and Off. There are various types of digital electronic devices like Logical Gates, Latches, Flip-flops, Registers and so on.

Difference Between The Words Analog and Digital

Before learning about digital electronics, it is important to know what Analog means. Analog is a quantity with its continuous values. As there exist infinite values between 0 and 1 like 0.1, 0.01, 0.001, 0.0001 and so on, therefore, they all tend to make quantity remain continuous.

Term Digital, on the other hand, is a quantity with separate values. Unlike analog, digital quantity sets itself on values 0 and 1 only – nothing in between them. Thus this quantity is based on separate values.

Binary Numbers – The Language of Digital Electronics

binary-numbers-globeAs said in the introduction, digital electronics work on the basis of binary digits 0s and 1s. So this binary digit can be called bit in short. 0 and 1 are the two states that represent the voltage levels of the digital signal.

There are two types of digital logic: positive and negative. In positive logic 0 is used for Low and 1 is used for High. And in negative logic 0 is used for High and 1 is used for Low.

All computer programs, software, banks, industries, military systems, and every digital device make use of binary numbers to obey the command or input. It is because computers are not that smart to understand human language directly. Therefore, human words in the form of commands are translated into binary numbers by digital devices to perform given activities. In short, the entire digital world is running on a set of binary digits.

Logic Gates – The Functions of Digital Information

The logic gates are basic units of digital electronics. They are the devices that contain circuits to perform logical operations or functions. There are mainly three types of logic gates: AND, NOT, and OR. Each logic gate performs a different function than the other two. Each gate contains at least two inputs and one output terminal. Let’s discuss each logic gate in more detail:

NOT Gate – It changes one logic level to its opposite logic level. For example, if there is 1 on the input side, it will change it and give 0 on the output and if there is 0 on input, it will change it 1 on output. In both conditions, the output would be the opposite of the input. Thus it simply inverts the logic level.

AND Gate – This gate gives 1 on output only when both inputs are 1, otherwise, when either of the two inputs or both are 0, the output shall be 0.

OR Gate – This gate gives 0 only when both inputs are 0. Otherwise, if either of the input or both are 1, it will give output 1.

Difference Between Analog and Digital Electronics

Analog electronics mainly contain electromechanical parts such as needle and coil, Analog devices such as ammeter, voltmeter, antennas and devices required for setting the frequency of signals and right-sizing their power can have issues like inaccuracy and time delay in processing signals and may often get noise. Analog devices are big and heavy to lift and move.

Digital electronics, on the other hand, contain transistors, logic gates, and ICs. Digital electronics such as high-speed microprocessors, frequency observing devices, and satellites perform efficiently and process noise-free signals within a short time. Whereas, digital devices are short, lightweight and portable.

Advantages and Benefits of Digital Electronics

Digital electronics are better than analog electronics because of a number of reasons. In the first place, the information (signal) in digital form is more reliable in transmissions like signals of cell phones, dish antenna or satellite-based television channels because they take nearly no noise mixed with actual signals. In the second place, digital information is easy to store as it occupies less space than analog information and it is less likely to corrupt or lose the quality. Moreover, digital devices can compress such digital information for storage and can transmit them to very long distances using a technique called frequency modulation.

Because of the fast-changing and developing technology, digital electronics get their presence everywhere. Moreover, there are hardly any analog devices in use today. Therefore, digital electronics make their presence all around.

Applications of Digital Electronics

desktop-computerAs technology has advanced in the last few decades, digital electronics grew and opened new ways of designing electronic devices. As a result, devices began to lose their size in a process called miniaturization which means to minimize the size. This way circuits turned out to be small and compact.

  1. Computing – From desktop computers to laptops, smartphones, game machines like Play-station, Xbox and Nintendo all designed with super fast speed microprocessors are because of digital electronics.
  2. Industrial Applications – Industries run the entire automatic system because of digital electronics. These systems are based on digital electronic devices like programmable chips, modems, and servers to help run the system and control it.
  3. Military Use – Military systems use digital electronics like radar, navigation and guidance systems to monitor air, space, land, and water.
  4. Medical Applications – Medical instruments like Cardiograph, Radiology, MRI and X-ray machines use digital electronics to monitor, diagnose and treat to cure illness and disease suffered by patients.
  5. Telecommunication – Communication-based on aerial for cellular phones, waves for satellite, electrical signals for Ethernet, and light signals for fiber optic make use of digital communication to transmit the signals in nanoseconds with the best quality. The devices used to record, collect, share, and monitor the data are transceiver (transmitter and receiver), fiber optics cables, network switches, routers, modems. These devices use digital communication techniques.
  6. Irrigation – The telemetry system in irrigation helps record the water level of dams and canals and water flow.
  7. Agriculture Future – The latest research suggests that agricultural crop cultivation can make use of artificial heat by emitting rays from a satellite to get early production. So the satellite can not only be used for communication but also for agriculture purposes as well.

Facts

  • A process, known as fabrication, is used to manufacture ICs, computer chips, and microcontrollers.
  • Digital information (0s and 1s) and analog information (continuous signal) can be converted into each other. DACs are the devices that convert digital information to analog, whereas ADCs are used for converting analog information to digital.
  • Due to the hot sale of the iPhone, Apple became the top buyer of the processors in the year 2011.

Cite this Page

Abdul Wahab, "Digital Electronics," in Science4Fun, October 12, 2020, https://science4fun.info/digital-electronics/.