IC vs Chip
According to Jack Kilby`s own words, the inventor of the Integrated Circuit, an Integrated circuit is a body of semiconductor material, wherein all the components of the electronic circuit are completely integrated. More technically an integrated circuit is an electronic circuit or a device built on a semiconductor substrate (base) layer by pattern diffusion of trace elements onto it. The invention of the integrated circuit technology in 1958 revolutionized the world in an unprecedented manner. A chip is a common term used for Integrated circuits.
More about Integrated Circuits
The integrated circuits or IC`s are devices used in almost any electronic device today. The development of semiconductor technology, and fabrication methods lead to the invention of Integrated Circuits. Prior to the invention of the IC all the equipment for computational tasks used vacuum tubes for implementation for logic gates and switches. Vacuum tubes, in nature, are relatively large, high power consuming devices. For any circuit, the discrete circuit elements had to be connected manually. The influence of these factors resulted in rather large and expensive electronic devices even for the smallest computational task. Therefore, a computer, five decades ago was enormous in size and very expensive, and personal computers were a very distant dream.
Semiconductor based transistors and diodes, which have higher energy efficiency and microscopic in size, replaced vacuum tubes and their uses. Hence a large circuit could be integrated on a small piece of semiconductor material allowing more sophisticated electronic devices to be created. Even though the first integrated circuits had only a small number of transistors in them, at present in an area of your thumb nail billions of transistors are integrated. Intel’s Six-Core, Core i7 (Sandy Bridge-E) processor contain 2,270,000,000 transistors in 434 mm² size silicon piece. Based on the number of transistors included in an IC, they are categorized into several generations.
SSI – Small Scale Integration – several transistors (<100)
MSI –Medikum Scale Integration – hundreds of transistors (< 1000)
LSI – Large Scale Integration – thousands of transistors (10,000 ~ 10000)
VLSI-Very Large Scale Integration – millions to billions (106 ~ 109)
Based on the task IC`s are categorized into three categories, Digital, Analog and mixed signal. Digital IC`s designed to operate on discrete voltage levels and contains digital elements like flip-flops, multiplexers, demultiplexers encoders, decoders and registers. Digital IC`s are usually microprocessors, microcontrollers, timers, Field Programmable Logic Arrays (FPGA) and memory devices (RAM, ROM and Flash), while analog IC`s are sensors, operational amplifiers and compact power management circuits. Analog to Digital Converters (ADC) and Digital to Analog Converters use both analog and digital elements; therefore, these IC`s processes both discrete and continuous voltage values. Since both signal types are processed, they are named as Mixed IC.
IC`s are packed in solid outer cover made of insulating material with high thermal conductivity, with contact terminals (pins) of the circuit spanning out from the body of the IC. Based on pin configuration many types of IC`s packaging are available. Dual In-line Package (DIP), Plastic Quad Flat Pack (PQFP) and Flip-Chip Ball Grid Array (FCBGA) are examples of packaging types.
What is the difference between Integrated Circuit and Chip?
• An integrated circuit is also called as a chip, because of the face IC`s come in a package resembling a chip.
• A set of Integrated Circuits often referred to as a Chipset, than an IC set.