What Does Integrated Circuit Mean?

What is Integrated Circuit
What is Integrated Circuit

An integrated circuit or monolithic integrated circuit (also called an IC, chip, or microchip) is a set of electronic circuits on a small flat piece (or "chip") of semiconductor material, usually silicon. A large number of small MOSFETs (metal-oxide-semiconductor field-effect transistors) are integrated into a small chip.

This results in much smaller, faster and cheaper circuits than those made from discrete electronic components. The IC's mass production capability, reliability, and building-block approach to integrated circuit design has prompted the rapid adoption of standardized ICs rather than designs using discrete transistors.

ICs are now used in almost all electronic equipment and have revolutionized the world of electronics. Computers, mobile phones and other household appliances are integral parts of the structure of modern societies, made possible by small-sized and low-cost ICs such as modern computer processors and microcontrollers.

Very large-scale integration has been made practical thanks to technological advances in metal-oxide-silicon (MOS) semiconductor device fabrication.

Since their origins in the 1960s, chips have advanced tremendously in size, speed, and capacity, thanks to technical advances that have packed more and more MOS transistors into chips of the same size.

A modern chip can have billions of MOS transistors of the same size. As an example, we can specify an area the size of a human fingernail.

These advances roughly follow Moore's law, making today's computer chips millions of times more capable and thousands of times faster than computer chips of the early 1970s.

ICs have two main advantages over discrete circuits: cost and performance. The cost is low as the chips, with all their components, are printed as a unit by photolithography rather than being created one transistor at a time.

Also, packaged ICs use much less material than discrete circuits. Performance is high because the IC's components change quickly and consume relatively little power due to their small size and proximity. The main disadvantage of ICs is the high cost of designing them and producing the required photomasks. This high initial cost means that ICs are only commercially viable when high production volumes are expected.

Source: Wikipedia

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