Integrated Circuits

Written by Seth Cotterell
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Though they are extremely common and run most of the machines we depend on every day, not many people know what an integrated circuit really is. Integrated circuits are some of the building blocks of our modern, high-tech society, and it is a good idea for consumers and business owners to know a little about them and how they work, especially if a computer system shut down will cause undue delay and financial loss for a company.

What Is an Integrated Circuit?

An integrated circuit is also known as a chip. This is perhaps a better known name, but integrated circuit is still a more accurate term. An integrated circuit is a very small piece of electronic equipment used in computers. An integrated circuit, or chip, is made of a semiconductive material like silicon. Integrated circuits are the heart of microprocessors and their usefulness and importance can not be exaggerated.

In much the same way that the atom, the basic building block of particulate matter, is composed of smaller pieces like protons and electrons, integrated circuits are defined by the smaller parts they contain. Transistors, an incredibly small electronic component, are the basic building block of integrated circuits. Integrated circuits are generally described in terms of the number of transistors each chip contains. A circuit that has up to 100 transistors and other electronic components is considered a small-scale integration, while an ultra large-scale integration has over one million transistors and components on each chip.

Finding integrated circuits for use in all kinds of systems has never been easier. Acquiring high-tech components used to be difficult and expensive, but with the presence of some reputable independent electronics distributors on the Internet, the availability of circuits has increased while prices have been reduced.

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