Integrated circuits are an extremely important and useful electronic component for any advanced electronic system. Since the advent of the first integrated circuit in 1958 created by Jack Kilby, for which he later received a Nobel Prize for, integrated circuits can now be found in almost every electronic device and hardware component. With their cost and performance advantages over similar older counterparts, integrated circuits can be found in and benefit such devices as computers, mobile phones, appliances, and much more. In this blog, we will provide an overview of the design and function of integrated circuit technologies.
Integrated circuits at their most basic are small semiconductor wafers that have many electronic circuits installed on them to be able to perform as a microprocessor, signal processor, power regulator, amplifier, and many other applications. Integrated circuits act as a cheaper, smaller, and more technologically advanced alternative to having multiple electrical parts soldered to a circuit board. Integrated circuits also have the benefit of becoming cheaper over time with mass production due to their broad design and abilities. Integrated circuits are designed with the use of software and machining, as there can be billions of MOS transistors all located within a very small surface area that would be impossible to place by hand. Their design also creates increased reliability and less chance for error due to smaller packaging size as compared to standard circuit board soldering.
Integrated circuits can serve many functions and benefit a wide amount of systems, including those such as radar, televisions, computers, memory devices, and radio frequency encoders and decoders. With all electronics, integrated circuits provide the opportunity to reduce size while also increase power, which is a major goal of many electronic manufacturers. With reduction of size, computers that had previously required thousands of transistors can be drastically minimized to only needing a few integrated circuits. This is why computers have been reduced from the size of buildings to a small microcomputer, laptop, or tablet.
Integrated circuits are a constantly evolving technology, and increasingly smaller features on larger wafers allow for the amount of MOS transistors on a single integrated circuit to double about every two years as per Moore’s law. With the current rate of advancing technology, as the size of features decrease, the performance and function of integrated circuit technologies will steadily increase. With greater performance and capacity with smaller circuits, there is a high amount of competition that constantly drives advancement of technology across the board. With the achievements and breakthroughs of integrated technologies thus far, more technologies beyond electronics, such as mechanical devices, sensors, and optics, have been seeing more integration.
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