Structure and use of NPN transistor. Arrow according to schematic.
The diagram opposite is a schematic representation of an NPN transistor connected to two voltage sources. To make the transistor conduct appreciable current (on the order of 1 mA) from C to E, VBE must be above a minimum value sometimes referred to as the cut-in voltage. The cut-in voltage is usually about 600 mV for silicon BJTs at room temperature but can be different depending on the type of transistor and its biasing. This applied voltage causes the lower P-N junction to 'turn-on' allowing a flow of electrons from the emitter into the base. In active mode, the electric field existing between base and collector (caused by VCE) will cause the majority of these electrons to cross the upper P-N junction into the collector to form the collector current IC. The remainder of the electrons recombine with holes, the majority carriers in the base, making a current through the base connection to form the base current, IB. As shown in the diagram, the emitter current, IE, is the total transistor current, which is the sum of the other terminal currents.