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Transistors Q3 and Q4 constitute what is known as a totem-pole output arrangement. In such an arrangement, either Q3 or Q4 conducts at a time depending upon the logic status of the inputs. The totem-pole arrangement at the output has certain distinct advantages. The major advantage of using a totem-pole connection is that it offers low-output impedance in both the HIGH and LOW output states. In the HIGH state, Q3 acts as an emitter follower and has an output impedance of about 70 . In the LOW state, Q4 is saturated and the output impedance is approximately 10 . Because of the low output impedance, any stray capacitance at the output can be charged or discharged very rapidly through this low impedance, thus allowing quick transitions at the output from one state to the other. Another advantage is that, when the output is in the logic LOW state, transistor Q4 would need to conduct a fairly large current if its collector were tied to VCC through R3 only. A nonconducting Q3 overcomes this problem. A disadvantage of the totem-pole output configuration results from the switch-off action of Q4 being slower than the switch-on action of Q3. On account of this, there will be a small fraction of time, of the order of a few nanoseconds, when both the transistors are conducting, thus drawing heavy current from the supply.


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