An integrated circuit (IC), sometimes called a chip or microchip, is a semiconductor wafer on which thousands or millions of tiny resistors, capacitors, and transistors are fabricated. An IC can function as an amplifier, oscillator, timer, counter, computer memory, or microprocessor. A particular IC is categorized as either linear analog or digital, depending on its intended application. IC’s are of Linear, digital and mixed types
Linear ICs have continuously variable output (theoretically capable of attaining an infinite number of states) that depends on the input signal level. As the term implies, the output signal level is a linear function of the input signal level. Linear ICs are used as audio-frequency (AF) and radio-frequency (RF) amplifiers. The operational amplifier (op amp) is a common device in these applications.
Digital ICs operate at only a few defined levels or states, rather than over a continuous range of signal amplitudes. These devices are used in computers, computer networks, modems, and frequency counters. The fundamental building blocks of digital ICs are logic gates, which work with binary data, that is, signals that have only two different states, called low (logic 0) and high (logic 1).
The advantages of Integrated Circuits are:
- Very small size: Hundred times smaller than the discrete circuits.
- Lesser weight: As large number of components can be packed into a single chip, weight is reduced
- Reduced cost: The mass production technique has helped to reduce the price,
- High reliability: Due to absence of soldered connection, few interconnections and small temperature rise failure rate is low.
- 5. Low power requirement: As the size is small power consumption is less.
- Easy replacement: In case of failure chip can easily be replaced.
Linear IC’s also known as analog Integrated circuits are:
Power amplifiers Microwave amplifiers
Small-signal amplifiers RF and IF amplifiers
Operational amplifiers Voltage compactors
Multipliers Radio receivers
Digital IC’s are mostly used in computers. They are also referred as switching circuits because their input and output voltages are limited to two levels – high and low i.e. binary. They include:
Flip-flops Calculator chips
Logic gates Memory chips
Multiplexers Clock chips
Microprocessors Micro controllers