Have you ever wondered how a computer or other digital device is able to take a binary input and transmute it into a function or a non-binary output? For most computers and similar devices, it is very likely that a logic gate plays a key role in that type of function.
Just as the word “gate” might imply, a logic gate is something that takes input in and then gives a derived output from that data, almost as if the data is passing through a gate. Since computers and other devices use binary code to read and process information, they need a component that translates that code into something else. This is where the logic gate, through the use of a Boolean function, comes into play.
There are a number of different logic gates that range in complexity and capability. If you are working on a project that requires a logic gate, here are a few key differences that you will need to bear in mind so that you make the right selection.
The various types of logic gates available range in the simplicity of the functions they perform. If you are searching for a logic gate for the purposes of inverting a single function, then you should consider the NOT logic gate. These devices take a single binary input and simply invert it, meaning if a “1” is inputted, then a “0” will be the output reading.
More complex gates can take the input of multiple wires that give different readings and transmute them into a single output based on that data. In fact, the NOT gate is the only one that reads the input of a single wire. This means that if you need to have the input of multiple wires transmuted into a single reading, then you should find a different type of logic gate.
Some can take the data from two wires and produce a single output, such as the AND gate and the OR gate. If you are choosing between these two gates, your decision will depend upon the specific type of reading that you are after.
More complicated logic gates, such as the NAND and the NOR are seen in computers and devices that are used in everyday life. These logic gates are considered to be universal in nature since by using one or the other, you can essentially produce any other type of logic gate.
Most logic gates are comprised of various transistors, diodes, and resistors. The components of the logic gate that you use will, once again, depend on what function you need it for. While most of the logic gates out there typically have an input of only two wires, you can combine them together to implement a single circuit if that is what your function demands.
The seven most common types of logic gates are AND, OR, XOR, NOT, NAND, NOR, and XNOR. You will very likely be able to choose from these in order to find the right logic gates for your project.