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Double subscript notation


In engineering, double-subscript notation is notation used to indicate some variable between two points (each point being represented by one of the subscripts). In electronics, the notation is usually used to indicate the direction of current or voltage, while in mechanical engineering it is sometimes used to describe the force or stress between two points, and sometimes even a component that spans between two points (like a beam on a bridge or truss). Note that, although there are many cases where multiple subscripts are used, they are not necessarily called double subscript notation specifically.

IEEE standard 255-1963, "Letter Symbols for Semiconductor Devices", defined eleven original quantity symbols expressed as abbreviations.

This is the basis for a convention to standardize the directions of double-subscript labels. The following uses transistors as an example, but shows how the direction is read generally. The convention works like this:

represents the voltage from C to B. In this case, C would denote the collector end of a transistor, and B would denote the base end of the same transistor. This is the same as saying "the voltage drop from C to B". Though this applies the standard definitions of the letters C and B,

would in turn represent the current from C to E. In this case, C would again denote the collector end of a transistor, and E would denote the emitter end of the transistor. This is the same as saying "the current in the direction going from C to E".


Symbol Quality
A Anode
AV Average
B Base
C Collector
E Emitter
G Gate
J Semiconductor terminal
K Cathode
M Maximum
Min Minimum
X Node (of a circuit)

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