Integrated Circuits

Written by Michael O'Brien
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Integrated circuits are at the heart of most machines and modern electronic devices we use today. They are to electronic devices as the central nervous system is to the human body. This is where all the information comes in and is sent out. It's like a message center or switchboard.

Integrated Circuits Are Silicon

Integrated circuits are essentially silicon chips. They are 99.999% pure. In fact, silicon has to have impurities added to it to make it a semiconductor. Circuits couldn't exist on anything but silicon. Still, a single speck of dust that you couldn't even see without a microscope could ruin a chip.

Circuits are made up of diodes, capacitors, transistors and other tiny components. Many different pieces can make up a circuit, which is why they can be quite complicated.
Computers couldn't run without silicon chips. A computer's CPU is an example of an integrated circuit. Transistors have made them a lot smaller. Thirty years ago, the computer with the processing and storage power of the one you're using on your desk would fill up an entire room.

Science Made Easy

Luckily, we're living in a time when science is so simple to use and fits so seamlessly into our everyday lives. You can live your whole life never knowing how electricity works, yet still turn the lights on and off every day. You don't have to know how to build integrated circuits, or even how one works or looks like, but you're using one right now.


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