Integrated Circuit

Integrated Circuit Meaning

With changes in time, significant changes have also taken place in the field of technology. Major technological advancements have lent this field a more concise and compact structure. Take for example; the very first computers used in the ancient times were similar to the size of 1000 laptops used in these present times. Have you ever wondered how this big change has been made possible? The answer to this question is an Integrated Circuit.


Explain Integrated Circuit

As it is widely said, necessity is the mother of all inventions. Hence, there was this need for developing circuits consisting of different circuit elements like capacitors, resistors, diodes and transistors, put together using copper wires. The circuits available earlier were bulky and large, and thus they could not be used in large machines. These large circuits are not suitable for creating compact and small appliances. Furthermore, these circuits were not wholly reliable and shock-proof.


Later on, three scientists from America invented transistors that helped in simplifying things and made way for the development of integrated circuits in smaller sizes and with more safety and power to be integrated into larger devices. 


What is Integrated Circuit?

If you want to define an integrated circuit in the most specific manner, then the right integrated circuit definition would be:


An integrated circuit is a minuscule chip made of semiconductor material. This chip is what makes the entire circuit. It is quite small in comparison to the basic circuit circuits made of different components and approximately the size of a human fingernail. At present, the most common integrated circuits used are the monolithic chips.

Integrated circuit meaning would be a chip used in almost every electric equipment or appliance found in the present times. This includes computers, televisions, mobiles and even the toys meant to be used by children. The integrated circuit diagram goes like this:


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Different Types of IC Chips

There are different types of integrated circuit categorized on varied criteria. Based on planned use, an IC integrated circuit can be classified as a digital integrated circuit, mixed integrated circuit and analogue integrated circuit. The integrated chip classification also includes other varieties, and we will have a look at them below:


Digital Integrated Circuits

These are IC chips that work only at a few levels that are specifically defined instead of working on all signal amplitude levels. The Digital Integrated circuits are specially designed using several digital logic flip flops, multiplexers, gates and other electrical elements of circuits. The logic gates operate with digital input and binary input data like 0 and 1.


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The Digital Integrated ICs are widely used in microprocessors, computers, computer networks, frequency counters and digital signal processors. In this category, you can find other sub-categories like programmable ICs, logic OCs, memory chips, interface ICs and power management integrated circuits.


Analog Integrated Circuits

These ICs work over a constant signal range and are subdivided into RFICs or Radio Frequency Integrated Circuits and Linear ICs. The relation between the current and the voltage might be non-linear in the majority of the cases over long signal ranges.

The most frequently utilized analogue integrated circuits are the operational amplifiers or op-amp, which are quite the same as differential amplifiers. These come with high voltage gain and fewer transistors in comparison to the digital integrated circuits.


Mixed Integrated Circuits

As is suggested by the name, these circuits are a blend of digital and analogue integrated circuits on one single chip. These integrated circuits work as both analogue to digital converters, digital to analogue converters and timing/clock ICs.


Mixed ICs are the result of major advancements made in the field of integration technology. It is a large-scale technological development that has helped in integrating multiple analogues, RF and digital functions on one single chip.


The other general varieties of integrated circuits are as follows:

  • Logic circuits made using the logic gates working with binary output and input.

  • Comparators used for comparing inputs and producing outputs based on the comparisons.

  • Switching integrated circuits designed using transistors. These are used for switch operations.

  • Audio amplifiers used for audio amplification. These are found in televisions and speakers.

  • Operational amplifiers are ideal for audio amplification.

  • Timer ICs used for calculating time in different applications.


Application of Integrated Circuit

Integrated circuits are used in different forms. The varied uses of the integrated circuit include:

  • Wristwatches

  • Radar

  • Computers

  • Juice makers

  • Televisions

  • Logic devices

  • Video processors

  • Memory devices

  • Audio amplifiers

  • Radiofrequency decoders and encoders

  • Microwave amplifiers

  • Voltage regulators

  • Small-signal amplifiers

  • Calculator chips

  • Microcontrollers

  • Clock chips

  • Counters

  • Timers

  • Memory chips

  • Temperature sensors

  • Flip-flops.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What are the Benefits of Integrated Circuits?

  • They are smaller in size when compared to discrete circuits.

  • They weigh less, and several elements can easily be jammed into one single chip.

  • Mass production of ICs leads to reduced cost.

  • ICs are highly reliable. Because of the absence of soldered connections, the rate of small rise temperature failure and few interconnections is always very low.

  • Since ICs are small in size, they do not use up a lot of power.

Because of these benefits, integrated circuits are widely used in the automotive controls, computers, microwaves, play stations, MP3, aeroplanes, ship equipment, space crafts, cellular phones, cameras and laptops of the modern times. They are also ideal for data processing and telephone circuit switching. Military equipment also consists of Integrated Circuits.

2. Which are the Most Common Integrated Circuits?

Timer ICs, Logic Gate ICs, Voltage Regulator ICs and Operational Amplifiers are the most widely used integrated circuits. Logic Gate ICs are blended circuits providing logical outputs as per input signals. Timer ICs are monolithic that offer accurate timing cycles. Operational Amplifiers are high-gain voltage ICs with single-ended output and a differential input. Voltage Regulator ICs offer constant DC output without paying heed to the changes made to DC input.