The metal-oxide-semiconductor field-effect transistor (MOSFET, MOS-FET, or MOS FET) is a type of field-effect transistor (FET), most commonly fabricated by the controlled oxidation of silicon. It has an insulated gate, whose voltage determines the conductivity of the device. This ability to change conductivity with the amount of applied voltage can be used for amplifying or switching electronic signals. A metal-insulator-semiconductor field-effect transistor or MISFET is a term almost synonymous with MOSFET. Another synonym is IGFET for insulated-gate field-effect transistor.
The basic principle of the field-effect transistor was first patented by Julius Edgar Lilienfeld in 1925.
The main advantage of a MOSFET is that it requires almost no input current to control the load current, when compared with bipolar transistors. In an enhancement mode MOSFET, voltage applied to the gate terminal increases the conductivity of the device. In depletion mode transistors, voltage applied at the gate reduces the conductivity.
The “metal” in the name MOSFET is now often a misnomer because the gate material is often a layer of polysilicon (polycrystalline silicon). Similarly, “oxide” in the name can also be a misnomer, as different dielectric materials are used with the aim of obtaining strong channels with smaller applied voltages. The MOSFET is by far the most common transistor in digital circuits, as hundreds of thousands or millions of them may be included in a memory chip or microprocessor. Since MOSFETs can be made with either p-type or n-type semiconductors, complementary pairs of MOS transistors can be used to make switching circuits with very low power consumption, in the form of CMOS logic.