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Depending on the context, the term may refer to an ideal logic gate, one that has, for instance, zero rise time and unlimited fan-out, or it may refer to a non-ideal physical device (see ideal and real op-amps for comparison).
In the real world, the primary way of building logic gates uses diodes or transistors acting as electronic switches. Today, most logic gates are made from MOSFETs (metal–oxide–semiconductor field-effect transistors). They can also be constructed using vacuum tubes, electromagnetic relays with relay logic, fluidic logic, pneumatic logic, optics, molecules, acoustics, or even mechanical or thermal elements.
With amplification, logic gates can be cascaded in the same way that Boolean functions can be composed, allowing the construction of a physical model of all of Boolean logic, and therefore, all of the algorithms and mathematics that can be described with Boolean logic.
Logic circuits include such devices as multiplexers, registers, arithmetic logic units (ALUs), and computer memory, all the way up through complete microprocessors, which may contain more than 100 million logic gates.
Compound logic gates AND-OR-Invert (AOI) and OR-AND-Invert (OAI) are often employed in circuit design because their construction using MOSFETs is simpler and more efficient than the sum of the individual gates.
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