Integrated Circuit

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An integrated circuit (also called IC or chip) is a small square or rectangular piece of semiconductor material (usually silicon), on which a number of logic gates are placed. These semiconductor pieces are called dies (singular: die).

Manufacturing

Packaging

The small die is placed in a square or rectangular package of varying dimensions and materials, these packages have pins on the sides or bottom. Every pin has an electrical connection with a place on the die, called a pad, which is usually a metal spot large enough to solder a thin wire to. The pads form the in- and outputs to the die.

  • Flatpack (FP): A rectangular or square package with leads parallel to base plane attached on two opposing sides of the package periphery.
  • Single In-line Package (SIP/SIPP): A rectangular package with one row of electrical connecting pins, often shaped like a comb. Room for heat-sink on top.
  • Dual In-line Package (DIP/DIPP): A rectangular package with two parallel rows of electrical connecting pins.
  • Pin Grid Array (PGA): A square or rectangular package with pins that are arranged in a regular array on the underside of the package.
    • Plastic (PPGA): Uses a plastic substrate
    • Flip-chip (FC-PGA): Variant of PGA where the die faces downwards on the substrate with the back of the die exposed.
    • Ceramic (CPGA): Uses a ceramic substrate
    • Staggered pin (SPGA): Consists of two square arrays of pins that form a diagonal square lattice.
  • Chip Carrier: One of several kinds of SMT chip packages, with connections on all four edges of a square package.
    • Plastic/Ceramic Leaded Chip Carrier (PLCC/CLCC): Has a rectangular plastic/ceramic package with J-shaped leads.
    • Leadless Chip Carrier (LCC): Has no leads, but instead has rounded through the edges of the ceramic or plastic package.

Chip labeling

Chips often include identifying information, commonly the manufacturers name/logo, the part number, a production batch number, serial number and a four digit date code. Small devices may only include a number used in the manufacturer's lookup table to find the chips characteristics.

The manufacturing date is commonly represented as YYWW, a part with the code 1422 is manufactured in week 22 of 2014.

Generations

Name Transistor count Logic gate count
SSI (Small Scale Integration) 1 to 10 1 to 10
MSI (Medium Scale Integration) 10 to 500 10 to 100
LSI (Large Scale Integration) 500 to 20,000 100 to 10,000
VLSI (Very Large Scale Integration) 20,000 to 1,000,000 10,000 to 100,000
ULSI (Ultra Large Scale Integration) > 1,000,000 > 100,000

SSI

A 7400 series SSI-chip

MSI

LSI

VLSI

ULSI