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Integrated Circuits: Basis of Modern Technology

Integrated circuits also go by the names IC, microcircuit, microprocessor, microchip, silicon chip, or just plain chip. They are a collection of miniaturized electronic circuits consisting of semiconductor devices as well as passive components. Semiconductors come in many forms such transistors, diodes, LED's, both memory and CPU chips -- and are made of silicon. Passive components do not require electrical power and protect circuits from excessive currents or voltages. They include the chassis, capacitors, resistors, or enclosures. Integrated circuits are manufactured in the surface of a thin substrate of semiconductor material. Integrated circuits are found in practically all electronic equipment being used today and have revolutionized the world of electronics and are constantly evolving.

The original idea of the integrated circuit was conceived by Geoffrey Dummer in 1952, though he was not able to successfully build the first devise. The first demonstration of a working integrated circuit was in 1958 by Jack Kilby. He described his new device this way: “a body of semiconductor material ... wherein all the components of the electronic circuit are completely integrated.” Kilby shared the 2000 Nobel Prize for Physics for his contribution "to the development of the microchip, the basis of all modern technology".

The first working integrated circuit created by Jack Kilby in 1958 contains a single transistor and supporting components on a slice of germanium and measures 1/16 by 7/16 inches.)

The first integrated circuits contained only a few transistors, with the next generation taking place in the late 1960s which introduced devices which contained hundreds of transistors on each chip. The mid 1970s saw tens of thousands of transistors per chip. Further technological advances saw the development of hundreds of thousands of transistors per IC in the early 1980s continuing beyond several billion transistors per chip being manufactured in 2010. The development continues as the search for faster, smaller, and cheaper continues.

As the integrated circuit has become an inextricable part of our modern culture - with computers, digital appliances, cell phones, etc. useless without them - the demand for these components increases. Also, the speed with which they are developed makes for electronic devices that contain obsolete components within a year or two. But, just because a piece is old doesn’t mean that it shouldn't be able to be repaired by a skilled technician. The secret is in locating the right Electronic Component Distributor to supply the correct integrated circuits and components. An industry has evolved of distributors that connects manufacturers and suppliers of integrated circuits and components with retailers, repairman, and electronic devices manufacturers.

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