A logic gate is an idealized model of computation or physical electronic device implementing a Boolean function, a logical operation performed on one or more binary inputs that produces a single binary output. 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).
Logic gates are primarily implemented using diodes or transistors acting as electronic switches, but can also be constructed using vacuum tubes, electromagnetic relays (relay logic), fluidic logic, pneumatic logic, optics, molecules, or even mechanical 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 gates. In modern practice, most gates are made from MOSFETs (metal–oxide–semiconductor field-effect transistors).
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.