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Electronics deals with electrical circuits that involve active electrical components such as vacuum tubes, transistors, diodes and integrated circuits. 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. 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 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. Digital circuits are electric circuits based on a number of discrete voltage levels. Digital circuits are the most common physical representation of Boolean algebra, and are the basis of all digital computers.
Vacuum tubes were one of the earliest electronic components and they dominated electronics for a long time. Today, most electronic devices use transistors and other semiconductor components to perform electron control.

Electronic logic gates can be build with vacuum tubes or with transistors. The Z22 was the first computer developed by Konrad Zuse's company that used vacuum tubes. With the Z23 they were substituted with transistors which were employed in all following computer models such as the Z31.

Electronics is distinct from electrical and electromechanical 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 (cf. vacuum tubes), 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.

View the technical drawings of the Z31.
cf. Wikipedia