Integrated circuit

Erasable Programmable Read-Only Memory (EPROM) integrated circuits. These packages have a transparent window that shows the die inside. The window is used to erase the memory by exposing the chip to ultraviolet light.
Integrated circuit from an EPROM memory microchip showing the memory blocks, the supporting circuitry and the fine silver wires which connect the integrated circuit die to the legs of the packaging
Virtual detail of an integrated circuit through four layers of planarized copper interconnect, down to the polysilicon (pink), wells (greyish), and substrate (green)

An integrated circuit or monolithic integrated circuit (also referred to as an IC, a chip, or a microchip) is a set of electronic circuits on one small flat piece (or "chip") of semiconductor material that is normally silicon. The integration of large numbers of tiny transistors into a small chip results in circuits that are orders of magnitude smaller, cheaper, and faster than those constructed of discrete electronic components. The IC's mass production capability, reliability and building-block approach to circuit design has ensured the rapid adoption of standardized ICs in place of designs using discrete transistors. ICs are now used in virtually all electronic equipment and have revolutionized the world of electronics. Computers, mobile phones, and other digital home appliances are now inextricable parts of the structure of modern societies, made possible by the small size and low cost of ICs.

Integrated circuits were made practical by mid-20th-century technology advancements in semiconductor device fabrication. Since their origins in the 1960s, the size, speed, and capacity of chips have progressed enormously, driven by technical advances that fit more and more transistors on chips of the same size – a modern chip may have many billions of transistors in an area the size of a human fingernail. These advances, roughly following Moore's law, make computer chips of today possess millions of times the capacity and thousands of times the speed of the computer chips of the early 1970s.

ICs have two main advantages over discrete circuits: cost and performance. Cost is low because the chips, with all their components, are printed as a unit by photolithography rather than being constructed one transistor at a time. Furthermore, packaged ICs use much less material than discrete circuits. Performance is high because the IC's components switch quickly and consume comparatively little power because of their small size and close proximity. The main disadvantage of ICs is the high cost to design them and fabricate the required photomasks. This high initial cost means ICs are only practical when high production volumes are anticipated.


An integrated circuit is defined as:[1]

A circuit in which all or some of the circuit elements are inseparably associated and electrically interconnected so that it is considered to be indivisible for the purposes of construction and commerce.

Circuits meeting this definition can be constructed using many different technologies, including thin-film transistors, thick-film technologies, or hybrid integrated circuits. However, in general usage integrated circuit has come to refer to the single-piece circuit construction originally known as a monolithic integrated circuit.[2][3]

Arguably, the first examples of integrated circuits would include the Loewe 3NF.[4] Although far from a monolithic construction, it certainly meets the definition given above.

Other Languages
العربية: دارة متكاملة
azərbaycanca: İnteqral sxem
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Інтэгральная схема
bosanski: Integralno kolo
Esperanto: Integra cirkvito
euskara: Txip
Gaeilge: Micrishlis
贛語: 集成電路
한국어: 집적 회로
Bahasa Indonesia: Sirkuit terpadu
íslenska: Samrás
Kreyòl ayisyen: Sikui entegre
македонски: Интегрално коло
Bahasa Melayu: Litar bersepadu
မြန်မာဘာသာ: အိုင်စီပတ်လမ်း
日本語: 集積回路
português: Circuito integrado
Simple English: Integrated circuit
slovenčina: Integrovaný obvod
slovenščina: Integrirano vezje
српски / srpski: Интегрисано коло
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Integralno kolo
suomi: Mikropiiri
Türkçe: Mikroçip
українська: Мікросхема
Tiếng Việt: Vi mạch
吴语: 集成电路
粵語: 集成電路
中文: 集成电路