Electronics deals with electrical circuits that involve active electrical components such as vacuum tubes, transistors, diodes and integrated circuits, and associated passive interconnection technologies. The nonlinear behaviour of active components and their ability to control electron flows makes amplification of weak signals possible and electronics is widely used in information processing, telecommunications and signal processing. The ability of electronic devices to act as switches makes digital information processing possible. Interconnection technologies such as circuit boards, electronics packaging technology, and other varied forms of communication infrastructure complete circuit functionality and transform the mixed components into a working system. Electronics is distinct from electrical and electro-mechanical science and technology, which deals with the generation, distribution, switching, storage and conversion of electrical energy to and from other energy forms using wires, motors, generators, batteries, switches, relays, transformers, resistors and other passive components. This distinction started around 1906 with the invention by Lee De Forest of the triode, which made electrical amplification of weak radio signals and audio signals possible with a non-mechanical device. Until 1950 this field was called "radio technology" because its principal application was the design and theory of radio transmitters, receivers and vacuum tubes. Today, most electronic devices use semiconductor components to perform electron control. The study of semiconductor devices an related technology is considered a branch of solid state physics, whereas the design and construction of electronic circuits to solve practical problems come under electronics engineering. This article focuses on engineering aspects of electronics. An electronic component is any physical entity in an electronic system used to affect the electrons or their associated fields in a manner consistent with the intended function of the electronic system. Components are generally intended to be connected together, usually by being soldered to a printed circuit board (PCB), to create an electronic circuit with a particular function (for example an amplifier, radio receiver, or oscillator). Components may be packaged singly, or in more complex groups as integrated circuits. Some common electronic components are capacitors, inductors, resistors, diodes, transistors, etc. Components are often categorized as active (e.g. transistors and thyristors) or passive (e.g. resistors and capacitors). [edit]Early electronic components Vacuum tubes were one of the earliest electronic components. They dominated electronics until the middle of the 1980s. [1] Since that time, solid state devices have all but completely taken over. Vacuum tubes are still used in some specialist applications such as high power RF amplifiers, cathode ray tubes, specialist audio equipment and some microwave devices. [edit]Types of circuits Circuits and components can be divided into two groups: analog and digital. A particular device may consist of circuitry that has one or the other or a mix of the two types.