History of the Integrated Circuit

An electronic circuit is a group of electronic components connected for a specific purpose.

A simple electronic circuit can be designed easily because it requires few discrete electronic components and connections. However, designing a complex electronic circuit is difficult, as it requires a number of discrete electronic components and their connections. It is also time taking to build such complex circuits and their reliability is also less. These difficulties can be overcome with Integrated Circuits.

To define Integrated Circuit (IC) we can consider that If multiple electronic components are interconnected on a single chip of semiconductor material, then that chip is called as an integrated circuit (IC). It consists of both active and passive components.

The1939–45 world war posed stringent environmental and operation requirements like standardization, miniaturization, reliability, maintainability and the like on electronic communication equipment components. Key improvements took place in the design and manufacture of electronic components. After the war, the semiconductor transistor came into widespread use.

The concept of Integrated Circuit (IC), also known as “chip”, which integrates a circuit of several electronic components into a solid block was envisaged in 1952. In 1959, the invention of the planar process with aluminum metallization by Robert Noyce and Jean Hoerniat Fairchild Semiconductor enabled large-scale production of ICs.

The development of the integration of circuitry was very rapid. In the year 1964, the small-scale integration (SSI) chip having digital logic gates circuitry was introduced. Gordon Earle Moore at Fairchild semiconductor predicted that the number of transistors on a silicon chip would increase from 50 in 1965 to 65,000 in 1975. It was recognized as his first articulation of Moore's law suggests that the number of transistors on a chip will double every year. Moore's prediction indeed was true and Medium-Scale Integration (MSI) chip with a complete register circuit appeared in 1968. The Large-scale integration (LSI) memory chip (256-bit RAM) was produced by Fairchild in 1970. In 1971, the LSI chips with 1024-bit Dynamic Random access memory (DRAM) and Universal Asynchronous Receiver Transmitter (UART) were developed.

Advantages of Integrated Circuits

Integrated circuits offer many advantages. They are discussed below −

  • Compact size −For a given functionality, you can obtain a circuit of smaller size using ICs, compared to that built using the discrete circuit.

  • Lesser weight −A circuit built with ICs weighs lesser when compared to the weight of a discrete circuit that is used for implementing the same function of IC. using ICs, compared to that built using a discrete circuit.

  • Low power consumption − ICs consume lower power than a traditional circuit, because of their smaller size and construction.

  • Reduced cost −ICs are available at much-reduced cost than discrete circuits because of their fabrication technologies and usage of lesser material than discrete circuits. 

  • Increased reliability − Since they employ lesser connections, ICs offer increased reliability compared to digital circuits.

  • Improved operating speeds− ICs operate at improved speeds because of their switching speeds and lesser power consumption.

Types of Integrated Circuits

Integrated circuits are of two types of − Analog Integrated Circuits and Digital IntegratedCircuits.

  • Analog integrated circuits −  Integrated circuits that operate over an entire range of continuous values of the signal amplitude are called as Analog Integrated Circuits. These are further classified into the two types as discussed here –

    • Linear Integrated Circuits − An analog IC is said to be linear if there exists a linear relationship between its voltage and current. IC 741, an 8-pin Dual In-line Package (DIP)op-amp, is an example of Linear IC.

    • Radio frequency integrated Circuits − An analog IC is said to be Non-Linear if there exists a non-linear relation between its voltage and current. A Non-Linear IC is also called as Radio Frequency IC.

  • Digital Integrated Circuits – If the integrated circuits operate only at a few pre-defined levels instead of operating for an entire range of continuous values of the signal amplitude, then these are called as Digital Integrated Circuits.

Updated on: 27-Jun-2020

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