Relationship between microchips and integrated circuits

Alternative Titles: IC, chip, chip circuit, electronic-grade silicon, microchip, Integrated circuits have their origin in the invention of the transistor in by .. the choice of every individual component, size, placement, and connection is crucial. A microchip (sometimes just called a 'chip') is a unit of packaged computer circuitry (usually called an 'integrated circuit') that is manufactured from a material . Better known to the layperson as a computer chip, IC or microchip, just about every electronic device you use today depends on the integrated circuit - from.

Electronic design tools improved enough to make it practical to finish these designs in a reasonable time. Modern VLSI devices contain so many transistors, layers, interconnections, and other features that it is no longer feasible to check the masks or do the original design by hand. Instead, engineers use EDA tools to perform most functional verification work. Microprocessor chips passed the million-transistor mark in and the billion-transistor mark in Through a combination of large size and reduced packaging, WSI could lead to dramatically reduced costs for some systems, notably massively parallel supercomputers.

The design of such a device can be complex and costly, and building disparate components on a single piece of silicon may compromise the efficiency of some elements. This has led to an exploration of so-called Network-on-Chip NoC devices, which apply system-on-chip design methodologies to digital communication networks as opposed to traditional bus architectures.

A three-dimensional integrated circuit 3D-IC has two or more layers of active electronic components that are integrated both vertically and horizontally into a single circuit. Communication between layers uses on-die signaling, so power consumption is much lower than in equivalent separate circuits.

Judicious use of short vertical wires can substantially reduce overall wire length for faster operation. It is also common to add the manufacturer's logo. This still limited the complexity of computers that could be based on transistor circuits. The invention of the integrated circuit goes to Jack Kilby, an and employee of Texas Instruments. InKilby was tasked with developing an improved circuit for his employers products. However, the direction for the circuit that his boss wanted to follow was not that of the integrated circuit; Kilby waited until his co-workers were on vacation to pursue his idea of putting all elements of a circuit on one small chip.

He finished his prototype, which he presented upon their return. The prototype was tested and it worked: Kilby's invention was deemed a success.

Robert Noycealso credited as an initial inventor of the integrated circuit, made an important improvement upon Kilby's initial design. He made the alteration of adding a thin layer of metal to the chip, to better connect all the various components on the circuit.

Interestingly, an English inventor also described the initial idea for the integrated circuit, independent of Kilby and Noyce. A digital signal is an analog waveform that has been converted into a series of binary numbers for quick manipulation. As the name implies, a digital signal processor DSP processes signals digitally, as patterns of 1s and 0s.

The digital representation of the voice can then be modified by a DSP using complex mathematical formulas. For example, the DSP algorithm in the circuit may be configured to recognize gaps between spoken words as background noise and digitally remove ambient noise from the waveform.

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DSPs are also used to produce digital effects on live television. For example, the yellow marker lines displayed during the football game are not really on the field; a DSP adds the lines after the cameras shoot the picture but before it is broadcast. Similarly, some of the advertisements seen on stadium fences and billboards during televised sporting events are not really there.

As their name implies, ASICs are not reconfigurable; they perform only one specific function. For example, a speed controller IC for a remote control car is hard-wired to do one job and could never become a microprocessor. An ASIC does not contain any ability to follow alternate instructions. RFICs are analog circuits that usually run in the frequency range of 3 kHz to 2. They are usually thought of as ASICs even though some may be configurable for several similar applications.

Most semiconductor circuits that operate above MHz million hertz cause the electronic components and their connecting paths to interfere with each other in unusual ways. Engineers must use special design techniques to deal with the physics of high-frequency microelectronic interactions.

These circuits usually run in the 2- to GHz range, or microwave frequencies, and are used in radar systems, in satellite communicationsand as power amplifiers for cellular telephones. Just as sound travels faster through water than through airelectron velocity is different through each type of semiconductor material.

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Silicon offers too much resistance for microwave-frequency circuits, and so the compound gallium arsenide GaAs is often used for MMICs. Unfortunately, GaAs is mechanically much less sound than silicon.

It breaks easily, so GaAs wafers are usually much more expensive to build than silicon wafers. Basic semiconductor design Any material can be classified as one of three types: A conductor such as copper or salt water can easily conduct electricity because it has an abundance of free electrons.

An insulator such as ceramic or dry air conducts electricity very poorly because it has few or no free electrons. A semiconductor such as silicon or gallium arsenide is somewhere between a conductor and an insulator. It is capable of conducting some electricity, but not much. Doping silicon Most ICs are made of siliconwhich is abundant in ordinary beach sand. Pure crystalline silicon, as with other semiconducting materials, has a very high resistance to electrical current at normal room temperature.

However, with the addition of certain impurities, known as dopants, the silicon can be made to conduct usable currents. In particular, the doped silicon can be used as a switch, turning current off and on as desired. The process of introducing impurities is known as doping or implantation.

An n-type semiconductor results from implanting dopant atoms that have more electrons in their outer bonding shell than silicon.

Integrated circuit

The resulting semiconductor crystal contains excess, or free, electrons that are available for conducting current. A p-type semiconductor results from implanting dopant atoms that have fewer electrons in their outer shell than silicon.

In essence, such holes can move through the crystal conducting positive charges. Three bond pictures of a semiconductor. The p-n junction A p-type or an n-type semiconductor is not very useful on its own. However, joining these opposite materials creates what is called a p-n junction. A p-n junction forms a barrier to conduction between the materials.

Although the electrons in the n-type material are attracted to the holes in the p-type material, the electrons are not normally energetic enough to overcome the intervening barrier. However, if additional energy is provided to the electrons in the n-type material, they will be capable of crossing the barrier into the p-type material—and current will flow.

This additional energy can be supplied by applying a positive voltage to the p-type material. The negatively charged electrons will then be highly attracted to the positive voltage across the junction. The p-n junctionA barrier forms along the boundary between p-type and n-type semiconductors that is known as a p-n junction. Because electrons under ordinary conditions will flow in only one direction through such barriers, p-n junctions form the basis for creating electronic rectifiers and switches.

A forward-biased p-n junctionAdding a small primary voltage such that the electron source negative terminal is attached to the n-type semiconductor surface and the drain positive terminal is attached to the p-type semiconductor surface results in a small continuous current. This arrangement is referred to as being forward-biased. A p-n junction that conducts electricity when energy is added to the n material is called forward-biased because the electrons move forward into the holes.

If voltage is applied in the opposite direction—a positive voltage connected to the n side of the junction—no current will flow. The electrons in the n material will still be attracted to the positive voltage, but the voltage will now be on the same side of the barrier as the electrons. In this state a junction is said to be reverse-biased.

Since p-n junctions conduct electricity in only one direction, they are a type of diode. Diodes are essential building blocks of semiconductor switches. Field-effect transistors Bringing a negative voltage close to the centre of a long strip of n-type material will repel nearby electrons in the material and thus form holes—that is, transform some of the strip in the middle to p-type material.

This change in polarity using an electric field gives the field-effect transistor its name. While the voltage is being applied, there will exist two p-n junctions along the strip, from n to p and then from p back to n.

One of the two junctions will always be reverse-biased. Since reverse-biased junctions cannot conduct, current cannot flow through the strip.