Electronics is the branch of science and technology that deals with electrical circuits involving active electrical components such as vacuum tubes, transistors, diodes and integrated circuits. The nonlinear behaviour of these components and their ability to control electron flows makes amplification of weak signals possible, and is usually applied to information and signal processing. Electronics is distinct from electrical and electro-mechanical science and technology, which deals with the generation, distribution, switching, storage and conversion of electrical energy to and from other energy forms using wires, motors, generators, batteries, switches, relays, transformers, resistors and other passive components. This distinction started around 1906 with the invention by Lee De Forest of the triode, which made electrical amplification of weak radio signals and audio signals possible with a non-mechanical device. Until 1950 this field was called "radio technology" because its principal application was the design and theory of radio transmitters, receivers and vacuum tubes.
Today, most electronic devices use semiconductor components to perform electron control. The study of semiconductor devices and related technology is considered a branch of solid state physics, whereas the design and construction of electronic circuits to solve practical problems come under electronics engineering.