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Exclusive-OR gate

The last six gate types are all fairly direct variations on three basic functions: AND, OR, and NOT. The Exclusive-OR gate, however, is something quite different.

Exclusive-OR gates output a "high" (1) logic level if the inputs are at different logic levels, either 0 and 1 or 1 and 0. Conversely, they output a "low" (0) logic level if the inputs are at the same logic levels. The Exclusive-OR (sometimes called XOR) gate has both a symbol and a truth table pattern that is unique:

There are equivalent circuits for an Exclusive-OR gate made up of AND, OR, and NOT gates, just as there were for NAND, NOR, and the negative-input gates. A rather direct approach to simulating an Exclusive-OR gate is to start with a regular OR gate, then add additional gates to inhibit the output from going "high" (1) when both inputs are "high" (1):

In this circuit, the final AND gate acts as a buffer for the output of the OR gate whenever the NAND gate's output is high, which it is for the first three input state combinations (00, 01, and 10). However, when both inputs are "high" (1), the NAND gate outputs a "low" (0) logic level, which forces the final AND gate to produce a "low" (0) output.

Another equivalent circuit for the Exclusive-OR gate uses a strategy of two AND gates with inverters, set up to generate "high" (1) outputs for input conditions 01 and 10. A final OR gate then allows either of the AND gates' "high" outputs to create a final "high" output:

Exclusive-OR gates are very useful for circuits where two or more binary numbers are to be compared bit-for-bit, and also for error detection (parity check) and code conversion (binary to Grey and vice versa).

Last Update: 2010-11-19