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Multiple-input gates

Inverters and buffers exhaust the possibilities for single-input gate circuits. What more can be done with a single logic signal but to buffer it or invert it? To explore more logic gate possibilities, we must add more input terminals to the circuit(s).

Adding more input terminals to a logic gate increases the number of input state possibilities. With a single-input gate such as the inverter or buffer, there can only be two possible input states: either the input is "high" (1) or it is "low" (0). As was mentioned previously in this chapter, a two input gate has four possibilities (00, 01, 10, and 11). A three-input gate has eight possibilities (000, 001, 010, 011, 100, 101, 110, and 111) for input states. The number of possible input states is equal to two to the power of the number of inputs:

This increase in the number of possible input states obviously allows for more complex gate behavior. Now, instead of merely inverting or amplifying (buffering) a single "high" or "low" logic level, the output of the gate will be determined by whatever combination of 1's and 0's is present at the input terminals.

Since so many combinations are possible with just a few input terminals, there are many different types of multiple-input gates, unlike single-input gates which can only be inverters or buffers. Each basic gate type will be presented in this section, showing its standard symbol, truth table, and practical operation. The actual TTL circuitry of these different gates will be explored in subsequent sections.

Last Update: 2010-11-19