The Basics Of Integrated Circuitry

Ever wonder what goes into the making of your new gadget? Electronic circuits are composed of individual transistors formed with resistors and diodes on a piece of silicon. The individual components are commonly connected using aluminum “wires” on the chip’s surface. This process results in the formation of IC, or integrated circuits. These ICs contain millions or just several transistors. ICs are responsible for the creation of video games, computers, digital watches, and most of today’s high tech gadgets.

ICs are usually grouped in two: analog/linear and digital/logic. But most sophisticated ICs combine digital and analog functions in forming a chip. As examples, digital chips sometimes include an analog/linear voltage regulator, while some analog chips include built-in digital counter. Combining integrated circuits is usually done to improve performance or add new features to a product such as giving counters time delays which are usually possible only with timers. These chips come in numerous different packages. In the present, the most popular and usual kinds are varieties of the DIP (Dual In-line Package). Ceramics or plastics are the usual components of standard DIPs with pins ranging from four to 100. Metals are also used for making DIPs but most manufacturers opt to replace these with more cost-effective plastic DIPs.

Despite the popularity of combination ICs and DIPs, there are still demands for separate integrated circuits. Analog ICs’ output and input voltage levels vary greatly in a broad spectrum. But despite these variations, output voltages are still directly proportional to input voltages which form a line graph. This is why analog ICs are termed linear. There are different types of analog ICs but the most popular and common types include voltage regulators and operational amplifiers. Voltage regulators alter voltages applied to inputs into variable voltages. Standard voltage regulators have excess transistors for the chips to manage driving loads that need added power than a standard op-amp is capable of. Most of these voltage regulators have metal tabs or include metal packaging to aid in radiating excessive heat out of the chips. Special linear ICs that include op-amps, like phase-locked loops and audio amplifiers, are made for TV, radio, computers, and telephone communications. Operational amplifiers are often considered as the most useful and versatile. Although their designs are basically intended for doing mathematical operations, they also amplify differences in voltages and signals of the inputs.

Digital integrated circuits are composed of “gates” regardless of the complexity of designs. These gates function like switches that turn on and off. A digital IC contains several gates and an IC with two input gates is usually referred as a logic gate. Increase in inputs and gates increase the ability of an IC to perform logical operations. As a result, digital ICs are often used in information transfers and exchanges. ICs are just small components of average devices like computers. But these devices rely on the efficiency of these ICs to function.