Integrated circuit design is all around us and makes our life more convenience and easy today. It is sometimes referred to as a microchip (or simply a computer chip) but these things can hold thousands of components and perform a wide range of functions. But what is an integrated circuit and what are some of the benefits it can provide? Let’s take a look and see.


Integrated circuits (ICs) are nothing new. In fact, they have been with us for over 60 years. An engineer in Germany named Werner Jacobi invented an IC device in 1949. It was an amplifier which utilized 5 transistors in a three stage amplification device. It amplified sound to improve hearing aids. The technology helped to greatly reduce the size of hearing aids, making life better for the hearing impaired.

Modern integrated circuit design was originally an idea of Geoffrey Dumer, a scientist who worked with radar for the British Ministry of Defence. He introduced his ideas to the public in the early 1950s but was unable to produce a successful circuit.

In 1957, Jack Kilby approached the United States Army with the idea of using small wafers (made from ceramic) to hold tiny circuits. This led to the development of the micromodule but was soon replaced by integrated circuit design.

In 1959 Kilby patented an integrated semi conductor which contained all the components of a circuit in one chip. This was first sold to the United States Air Force. In fact, in 2000 he received the Nobel Prize (in Physics) for his efforts in developing integrated circuits.

Kilby’s first ICs had a few problems which were soon solved by Robert Noyce. The main problem involved the actual materials of the chip. Kilby’s chip was made from germanium and Noyce introduced silicon chips which are still used today in CMOS chips for computers.

Benefits of Integrated Circuits

Modern ICs offer many advantages today. For example, because they are small, it makes miniaturization much more practical. Here are more benefits to consider:

 * Easy and simple to replace

 * Low weight – when you make things smaller you also need to keep the weight down.

 * Cost – ICs are very cost effective because they are made all in one piece. There is no need to seek out and replace a wide range of components when you only need to replace one chip. Plus, modern manufacturing processes have made these chips very affordable.

 * Versatility – thanks to integrated circuit design, many functions are possible. For example, these chips can be used as timers, amplifiers, processors and computer memory.