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What are Integrated Circuits?

  1. Sep 5, 2009 #1
    What exactly are integrated circuits?
    I would like to know their functions, uses, etc. Schematics would be nice, too.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 5, 2009 #2


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    Integrated circuit is a broad category of semiconductor devices in which an entire circuit is built on a monolithic (single crystal) semiconductor wafer, usually silicon. They have an extremely broad variety of uses from simple logic gates to computer microprocessors. ICs are more commonly known as "chips" and you've probably seen them without even knowing it. They come in a wide variety of packages and form factors:

  4. Sep 5, 2009 #3
    I see...
    Thanks for the explanation.
    And for the image. I realize now that I have seen them before.
  5. Sep 5, 2009 #4
    Here is a short history of integrated circuits:
    Some of the first integrated circuits included linear amplifiers by Fairchild (uA702, uA741) and Texas Instruments TTL series quad digital NAND gates SN7400 (output is low only if both inputs are high), which were available in the late 1960's. The first "pocket calculator", the famous HP-35 developed by Hewlett Packard, which came out about 1972. See (2.5 MB file)
  6. Sep 5, 2009 #5


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    I was surprised that the wiki link you gave Bob didn't mention some of the oldest logic integrated circuits. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Resistor%E2%80%93transistor_logic" [Broken] When I was a teenager, an old ham (instrument tech by profession) took me under his wing and thought me how to build circuits. One of the first things we worked with were RTL circuits. We would bread-board them up and check out their logic functions. We were marveled as to how cool they were.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  7. Sep 5, 2009 #6
    Yeah, I sure remember the old RTL (3 volt logic), and the DTL (5 volt logic) also, but I didn't want to confuse the OP. TTL superceded them very quickly. I remember when the PDP-8 (with negative logic) went to TTL with +5 volt logic.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  8. Sep 5, 2009 #7


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    Hexadecimal. :eek: But that's a different story.
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