Different Types of Integrated Circuits | IC Types

Every electronic appliance we use in our day-to-day life, such as mobile phones, laptops, refrigerators, computers, televisions, and all other electrical and electronic devices are manufactured with some simple or complex circuits. Electronic circuits are realized using multiple electrical and electronic components connected with each other by connecting wires or conducting wires for the flow of electric current through the multiple components of the circuit, such as resistors, capacitors, inductors, diodes, transistors, and so on. The circuits can be classified into different types based on different criteria, such as, based on connections: series circuits and parallel circuits; based on the size and manufacturing process of the circuit: integrated circuits and discrete circuits; and, based on signal used in the circuit: analog circuits and digital circuits. This article discusses an overview of different types of integrated circuits and their applications.


What is an Integrated Circuit?

Integrated circuit or IC or microchip or chip is a microscopic electronic circuit array formed by the fabrication of various electrical and electronic components (resistors, capacitors, transistors, and so on) on a semiconductor material (silicon) wafer, which can perform operations similar to the large discrete electronic circuits made of discrete electronic components.

Integrated Circuits
Integrated Circuits

As all these arrays of components, microscopic circuits and semiconductor wafer material base are integrated together to form a single chip, hence, it is called an integrated circuit or integrated chip or microchip.


Electronic circuits are developed using individual or discrete electronic components with different sizes, such that the cost and size of these discrete circuits increase with the number of components used in the circuit. To conquer this negative aspect, the integrated circuit technology was developed – Jack Kilby of Texas Instruments developed the first IC or integrated circuit in the 1950s, and thereafter, Robert Noyce of Fairchild Semiconductor solved some practical problems of this integrated circuit.

History of Integrated Circuits

The History of integrated circuits was started with Solid state devices. The invention of the first vacuum tube was done by John Ambrose (J.A) Fleming in the year 1897, called a vacuum diode. For motors, he invented the left-hand rule. After that in the year 1906, a new vacuum was invented namely Triode and it is used for amplification.

After that, the transistor was invented at Bell Labs in the year 1947 to replace the vacuum tubes partially because transistors are small components that use less power to work. Different circuits were designed using discrete components by separating through each other as well as arranged on the printed circuit boards by controlling through hands known as non-integrated circuits. These ICs consume much power and space and their output is not so smooth.


In 1959, Integrated Circuit was developed, where several electronic and electrical components were fabricated over a single silicon wafer. Integrated circuits use low power to operate as well as provide smooth output. Further, the enhancement of transistors over an integrated circuit can also be increased.

Integrated Circuit Evolution from Different Technologies

The classification of ICs can be done based on the sizes of the chip and integration scale. Here, an integration scale specifies the number of electronic components placed into a typical Integrated Circuit.
From 1961 to 1965, small-scale integration (SSI) technology was used to fabricate 10 to 100 transistors on a single chip to make flip flops and logic gates.

From 1966 to 1970, medium-scale integration (MSI) technology was used to fabricate 100 to 1000 transistors on a single chip to make multiplexers, decoders & counters.

From 1971 to 1979, large scale integration technology (LSI) was used to fabricate 1000 to 20000 transistors on a single chip to make RAM, microprocessor, ROM

From 1980 to 1984, very-large-scale integration (VLSI) technology was used to fabricate 20000 to 50000 transistors on a single chip to make RISC microprocessors, DSPs, and mi16-bit and 32-bit microprocessors.

From 1985 to now, ultra large scale integration (ULSI) technology was used to fabricate 50000 to billions of transistors on a single chip to make 64-bit microprocessors.

Limitations of Different Types of Integrated Circuits

The limitation of different types of ICs includes the following.

  • Power rating is limited
  • It functions at low voltage
  • It generates noise while operating
  • A high rating of PNP is not probable
  • Its components are voltage-dependent like resistors & capacitors
  • It is delicate
  • Fabrication of an IC through low noise is difficult
  • The temperature coefficient is difficult to be achieved.
  • Assembly of high-grade PNP is not achievable.
  • In IC, any com
  • In an IC, different components cannot be replaced, removed, thus, if any component within an IC damages, then the complete IC has to change with the new one.
  • Power rating is limited because the manufacturing of ICs above 10 Watt power rating is not possible

Different Types of Integrated Circuits

There are different types of ICs; classification of Integrated Circuits is done based on various criteria. A few types of ICs in a system are shown in the below figure with their names in a tree format.

Different Types of ICs
Different Types of ICS

Based on the intended application, the IC is classified as analog integrated circuits, digital integrated circuits, and mixed integrated circuits.

Digital Integrated Circuits

The integrated circuits that operate only at a few defined levels instead of operating overall levels of signal amplitude are called Digital ICs and these are designed by using multiple numbers of digital logic gates, multiplexers, flip flops, and other electronic components of circuits. These logic gates work with binary input data or digital input data, such as 0 (low or false or logic 0) and 1 (high or true or logic 1).

Digital Integrated Circuits
Digital Integrated Circuits

The above figure shows the steps involved in designing typical digital integrated circuits. These digital ICs are frequently used in computers, microprocessors, digital signal processors, computer networks, and frequency counters. There are different types of digital ICs or types of digital integrated circuits, such as programmable ICs, memory chips, logic ICs, power management ICs and interface ICs.

Analog Integrated Circuits

The integrated circuits that operate over a continuous range of signals are called Analog ICs. These are subdivided into linear Integrated Circuits (Linear ICs) and Radio Frequency Integrated Circuits (RF ICs). In fact, the relationship between the voltage and current may be nonlinear in some cases over a long range of the continuous analog signal.

Analog Integrated Circuits
Analog Integrated Circuits

The frequently used analog IC is an operational amplifier or simply called an op-amp, similar to the differential amplifier, but possesses a very high voltage gain. It consists of a very less number of transistors compared to the digital ICs, and, for developing analog application-specific integrated circuits (analog ASICs), computerized simulation tools are used.

Linear Integrated Circuits

In an analog integrated circuit, if a linear relation among its voltage as well as current exists then it is known as linear IC. The best example of this linear IC is.741 IC, is an 8-pin DIP (Dual In-line Package) op-amp,

Radio Frequency Integrated Circuits

In analog IC, if a non-linear relation among its voltage & current exists then it is called radiofrequency ICs. This kind of IC is also known as a radio frequency integrated circuit.

Mixed Integrated Circuits

The integrated circuits that are obtained by the combination of analog and digital ICs on a single chip are called Mixed ICs. These ICs functions as Digital to Analog converters, Analog to Digital converters (D/A and A/D converters), and clock/timing ICs. The circuit depicted in the above figure is an example of the mixed integrated circuit which is a photograph of the 8 to 18 GHz self-healing radar receiver.

Mixed Integrated Circuits
Mixed Integrated Circuits

This mixed-signal Systems-on-a-chip is a result of advances in the integration technology, which enabled to the integration of digital, multiple analogs, and RF functions on a single chip.

General types of integrated circuits(ICs) include the following:

Logic Circuits

These ICs are designed using logic gates-that work with binary input and output (0 or 1). These are mostly used as decision-makers. Based on the logic or truth table of the logic gates, all the logic gates connected in the IC give an output based on the circuit connected inside the IC- such that this output is used for performing a specific intended task. A few logic ICs are shown below.

Logic Circuits
Logic Circuits

Comparators

The comparator ICs are used as comparators for comparing the inputs and then to produce an output based on the ICs’ comparison.

Comparators
Comparators

Switching ICs

Switches or Switching ICs are designed by using the transistors and are used for performing the switching operations. The above figure is an example showing an SPDT IC switch.

Switching ICs
Switching ICs

Audio Amplifiers

The audio amplifiers are one of the many types of ICs, which are used for the amplification of the audio. These are generally used in audio speakers, television circuits, and so on. The above circuit shows the low- voltage audio amplifier IC.

Audio amplifiers
Audio amplifiers

CMOS Integrated Circuit

CMOS integrated circuits are extremely used in different applications as compared with FETs because of their capabilities like lower threshold voltage, low-power consumption. A CMOS IC includes P-MOS & N-MOS devices which are fabricated jointly on a similar chip. The structure of this IC is a Polysilicon gate that aids to decrease the device’s threshold voltage, therefore allowing process at low-voltage levels.

Voltage Regulator ICs

This kind of integrated circuit provides a stable DC output despite the changes within DC input. The commonly used type regulators are LM309, uA723, LM105 & 78XX ICs.

Operational Amplifiers

The operational amplifiers are frequently used ICs, similar to the audio amplifiers which are used for the audio amplification. These op-amps are used for amplification purposes, and these ICs work similarly to the transistor amplifier circuits. The pin configuration of the 741 op-amp IC is shown in the above figure.

Operational amplifiers
Operational amplifiers

Timer ICs

Timers are special-purpose integrated circuits used for the purpose of counting and to keep a track of time in intended applications. The block diagram of the internal circuit of the LM555 timer IC is shown in the above circuit. Based on the number of components used (typically based on the number of transistors used), they are as follows

Timer ICs
Timer ICs

Small-scale Integration consists of only a few transistors (tens of transistors on a chip), these ICs played a critical role in early aerospace projects.

Medium-scale Integration consists of some hundreds of transistors on the IC chip developed in the 1960s and achieved better economy and advantages compared to the SSI ICs.

Large-scale Integration consists of thousands of transistors on the chip with almost the same economy as medium-scale integration ICs. The first microprocessor, calculator chips, and RAMs of 1Kbit developed in the 1970s  had below four thousand transistors.

Very Large-scale Integration consists of transistors from hundreds to several billion in number.(Development period: from the 1980s to 2009)

Ultra large-scale Integration consists of transistors in excess of more than one million, and later wafer-scale integration (WSI), system on a chip (SoC), and three-dimensional integrated circuit (3D-IC) were developed.

All these can be treated as generations of integrated technology. ICs are also classified based on the fabrication process and packing technology. There are numerous types of ICs among which, an IC will function as a timer, counter, register, amplifier, oscillator, logic gate, adder, microprocessor, and so on.

Types of Integrated Circuits based on Classes

Integrated circuits are available in three classes based on the techniques used while manufacturing them.

  • Thin and thick film ICs
  • Monolithic ICs
  • Hybrid or multichip ICs

Thin & Thick ICs

In these types of integrated circuits, passive components like capacitors and resistors are used however the transistors and diodes are connected like separate components to design a circuit. These ICs are simply the combination of integrated as well as separate components and these ICs have related characteristics and appearance apart from the way of film deposition. From ICS, the thin ICs film deposition can be decided.

These ICs are designed through conducting material’s depositing films on the surface of glass otherwise on a ceramic stand. By changing the thickness of films on the materials will have different resistivity and manufacturing of passive electronic components can be done.

In this type of integrated circuit, the silk printing method is utilized to make the required model of the circuit on a ceramic substrate. Sometimes, this kind of ICs is called printed thin-film ICs.

Monolithic ICs

In this kind of integrated circuits, the interconnections of the active, the passive, and discrete components on a silicon chip can be formed. As the name suggests, it is derived from the Greek word like mono is nothing but single whereas Lithos means stone. At present, these ICs are most commonly used due to less cost as well as reliability. The ICs which are manufactured commercially are used like voltage regulators, amplifiers, computer circuits, and AM receivers. However, the insulation among the monolithic IC components is poor but is also have less power rating,

Dual-in-line package (DIP) IC

A DIP (a dual in-line package) or DIPP (dual in-line pin package) is an electronic component package in terms of microelectronics or electronics with a rectangular board & two parallel rows with electrical connecting pins.

Hybrid or Multi-Chip ICs

As the name suggests, multi means above one individual chip which is interconnected. The active components like diodes or diffused transistors include these ICs whereas the passive components are the diffused capacitors or resistors on a single chip. The connection of these components can be done through metalized prototypes. Multi-chip integrated circuits are extensively utilized for the applications of high power-amplifier from 5W to 50W. As compared with monolithic integrated circuits, hybrid ICs performance is superior.

Types of IC Packages

The IC packages are categorized into two types like Through-Hole Mount & Surface Mount Packaging.

Through-Hole Mount Packages

The designing of these can be done where the lead pins are fixed through one face of the board & smoldered on the other side. As compared with other types, the size of these packages is bigger. These are mainly utilized within electronic devices to balance the board space as well as cost limits. The best example of through-hole mount packages is Dual inline packages because these are the most significantly used ones. These packages are available in two types like ceramic& plastic.

In ATmega328, the 28-pins are located in parallel to each other by expanding vertically & laid out on a black plastic rectangular shape board. The space between pins is maintained with 0.1 inches. In addition, the package changes in size because of the difference within the no. of pins in dissimilar packages. The arrangement of these pins can be done in such a way that they can be regulated on to the middle of a breadboard so that short-circuiting cannot occur.

The different through-hole mount IC packages are PDIP, DIP, ZIP, PENTAWATT, T7-TO220, TO2205, TO220, TO99, TO92, TO18, TO03.

Surface Mount Packaging

This kind of packaging mainly follows the mounting technology otherwise locating the components straight on the PCB. Even though his fabrication methods will help to do things rapidly, it also improves the chances of faults due to the tiny components & they are arranged very close to each other. This kind of packaging uses plastic or ceramic molding. The different kinds of surface-mount packaging that employ plastic molds are small outline L-leaded package and BGA (Ball Grid Array).

The different surface mount IC packages are SOT23, SOT223, TO252, TO263, DDPAK, SOP, TSOP, TQFP, QFN, and BGA.

Advantages

The advantages of types of Integrated circuits are discussed below.

Power Consumption is Low

Integrated circuits use less power to work properly due to their less size and construction.

Size is Compact

A small circuit using ICs can be obtained for a given functionality as compared with the discrete circuit.

Less Cost

As compared with discrete circuits, integrated circuits are available in less cost due to their fabrication technologies as well as usage of low material.

Less Weight

The circuits which use integrated circuits are less weight as compared with discrete circuits

Operating Speed is Improved

Integrated circuits work at high speeds due to their switching speeds as well as low power consumption.

High Reliability

Once the circuit uses low connections, then integrated circuits will provide high reliability as compared with digital circuits.

  • The size of the IC is small but thousands of components can be fabricated on this chip.
  • By using a single chip, different complex electronic circuits are designed
  • Because of the bulk production, these are available with less cost
  • Operating speed is high because of the lack of parasitic capacitance effect.
  • From the mother circuit, it can be changed easily

Disadvantages

The disadvantages of different types of integrated circuits include the following.

  • The heat cannot be dissipated at a necessary rate due to its small size and overflow of current can cause the IC damage
  • In Integrated circuits, the transformers, as well as inductors, cannot be incorporated
  • It handles a limited range of power
  • Assembly of high-grade PNP is not achievable.
  • A low-temperature coefficient cannot be achieved
  • The power dissipation range is up to 10 watts
  • High voltage and low noise operation cannot be obtained

Thus, this is all about an overview of different types of integrated circuits. The conventional Integrated circuits are reduced in practical usage, because of the invention of the nano-electronics and the miniaturization of ICs being continued by this Nano-electronics technology. However, the conventional ICs are not yet replaced by nano-electronics but the usage of the conventional ICs is getting diminished partially. For improving this article technically, please post your queries, ideas, and suggestions as your comments in the below section.

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