domingo, 30 de mayo de 2010

Integrated circuit

In electronics, an integrated circuit (also known as IC, microcircuit, microchip, silicon chip, or chip) is a miniaturized electronic circuit (consisting mainly of semiconductor devices, as well as passive components) that has been manufactured in the surface of a thin substrate of semiconductor material. Integrated circuits are used in almost all electronic equipment in use today and have revolutionized the world of electronics.
A hybrid integrated circuit is a miniaturized electronic circuit constructed of individual semiconductor devices, as well as passive components, bonded to a substrate or circuit board

Integrated circuits were made possible by experimental discoveries which showed that semiconductor devices could perform the functions of vacuum tubes, and by mid-20th-century technology advancements in semiconductor device fabrication. The integration of large numbers of tiny transistors into a small chip was an enormous improvement over the manual assembly of circuits using electronic components. The integrated circuit's mass production capability, reliability, and building-block approach to circuit design ensured the rapid adoption of standardized ICs in place of designs using discrete transistors.
There are two main advantages of ICs over discrete circuits: cost and performance. Cost is low because the chips, with all their components, are printed as a unit by photolithography and not constructed as one transistor at a time. Furthermore, much less material is used to construct a circuit as a packaged IC die than as a discrete circuit. Performance is high since the components switch quickly and consume little power (compared to their discrete counterparts) because the components are small and close together. As of 2006, chip areas range from a few square millimeters to around 350 mm2, with up to 1 million transistors per mm2.


The idea of integrated circuit was conceived by a radar scientist working for the Royal Radar Establishment of the British Ministry of Defence, Geoffrey W.A. Dummer (1909-2002), who published it at the Symposium on Progress in Quality Electronic Components in Washington, D.C. on May 7, 1952.[1] He gave many symposia publicly to propagate his ideas. Dummer unsuccessfully attempted to build such a circuit in 1956.
Jack Kilby recorded his initial ideas concerning the integrated circuit in July 1958 and successfully demonstrated the first working integrated circuit on September 12, 1958.[2] In his patent application of February 6, 1959, Kilby described his new device as "a body of semiconductor material ... wherein all the components of the electronic circuit are completely integrated." [3] Kilby won the 2000 Nobel Prize in Physics for his part of the invention of the integrated circuit.[4]
Robert Noyce also came up with his own idea of an integrated circuit half a year later than Kilby. Noyce's chip solved many practical problems that Kilby's had not. Noyce's chip, made at Fairchild Semiconductor, was made of silicon, whereas Kilby's chip was made of germanium.
Early developments of the integrated circuit go back to 1949, when the German engineer Werner Jacobi (Siemens AG) filed a patent for an integrated-circuit-like semiconductor amplifying device [5] showing five transistors on a common substrate arranged in a 2-stage amplifier arrangement. Jacobi discloses small and cheap hearing aids as typical industrial applications of his patent. A commercial use of his patent has not been reported.
A precursor idea to the IC was to create small ceramic squares (wafers), each one containing a single miniaturized component. Components could then be integrated and wired into a bidimensional or tridimensional compact grid. This idea, which looked very promising in 1957, was proposed to the US Army by Jack Kilby, and led to the short-lived Micromodule Program (similar to 1951's Project Tinkertoy).[6] However, as the project was gaining momentum, Kilby came up with a new, revolutionary design: the IC.
Robert Noyce credited Kurt Lehovec of Sprague Electric for the principle of p-n junction isolation caused by the action of a biased p-n junction (the diode) as a key concept behind the IC.[7]
See: Other variations of vacuum tubes for precursor concepts such as the Loewe 3NF.

The first working integrated circuit was created by Jack Kilby in 1958. It contains a single transistor and supporting components on a slice of germanium and measures 1/16 by 7/16 inches (1.6 x 11.1 mm).

Advances in integrated circuits

Among the most advanced integrated circuits are the microprocessors or "cores", which control everything from computers to cellular phones to digital microwave ovens. Digital memory chips and ASICs are examples of other families of integrated circuits that are important to the modern information society. While the cost of designing and developing a complex integrated circuit is quite high, when spread across typically millions of production units the individual IC cost is minimized. The performance of ICs is high because the small size allows short traces which in turn allows low power logic (such as CMOS) to be used at fast switching speeds.
ICs have consistently migrated to smaller feature sizes over the years, allowing more circuitry to be packed on each chip. This increased capacity per unit area can be used to decrease cost and/or increase functionality—see Moore's law which, in its modern interpretation, states that the number of transistors in an integrated circuit doubles every two years. In general, as the feature size shrinks, almost everything improves—the cost per unit and the switching power consumption go down, and the speed goes up. However, ICs with nanometer-scale devices are not without their problems, principal among which is leakage current (see subthreshold leakage for a discussion of this), although these problems are not insurmountable and will likely be solved or at least ameliorated by the introduction of high-k dielectrics. Since these speed and power consumption gains are apparent to the end user, there is fierce competition among the manufacturers to use finer geometries. This process, and the expected progress over the next few years, is well described by the International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors (ITRS).

The integrated circuit from an Intel 8742, a 8-bit microcontroller that includes a CPU running at 12 MHz, 128 bytes of RAM, 2048 byte of EPROM, and I/O in the same chip.

Popularity of ICs
Only a half century after their development was initiated, integrated circuits have become ubiquitous. Computers, cellular phones, and other digital appliances are now inextricable parts of the structure of modern societies. That is, modern computing, communications, manufacturing and transport systems, including the Internet, all depend on the existence of integrated circuits.

Integrated circuits can be classified into analog, digital and mixed signal (both analog and digital on the same chip).
Digital integrated circuits can contain anything from one to millions of logic gates, flip-flops, multiplexers, and other circuits in a few square millimeters. The small size of these circuits allows high speed, low power dissipation, and reduced manufacturing cost compared with board-level integration. These digital ICs, typically microprocessors, DSPs, and micro controllers work using binary mathematics to process "one" and "zero" signals.
Analog ICs, such as sensors, power management circuits, and operational amplifiers, work by processing continuous signals. They perform functions like amplification, active filtering, demodulation, mixing, etc. Analog ICs ease the burden on circuit designers by having expertly designed analog circuits available instead of designing a difficult analog circuit from scratch.
ICs can also combine analog and digital circuits on a single chip to create functions such as A/D converters and D/A converters. Such circuits offer smaller size and lower cost, but must carefully account for signal interference.

Lenny Z. Perez M.

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