Integrated circuit showing memory blocks, logic and input/output pads around the periphery
Microchips with a clear window, showing the integrated circuit inside. Note the fine silver-colored wires that connect the included circuit to the pins of the package. A monolithic integrated circuit is a miniaturized electronic circuit that has been manufactured in the surface of a thin substrate of semiconductor material. A hybrid integrated circuit is a miniaturized electronic circuit constructed of human being semiconductor devices, as well as passive components, bonded to a substrate or circuit board. This article is about monumental integrated circuits.
Integrated circuits were made possible by investigational discoveries which showed that semiconductor devices could carry out the functions of vacuum tubes, and by mid-20th-century technology advancements in semiconductor device manufacture. The integration of large numbers of tiny transistors into a small chip was an enormous development over the manual assembly of circuits using discrete electronic components. The integrated circuit's mass production capability, reliability, and building-block approach to circuit design ensured the rapid adoption of standardized ICs in place of designs using discrete transistors. There are two main advantages of Integrated Circuits over discrete circuits: cost and performance. Cost is low because the chips, with all their mechanism, are printed as a unit by photolithography and not constructed a transistor at a time. Performance is high since the components switch quickly and consume little power, because the components are small and close together.