Synonymous with microcircuit and semiconductor chip. In computer hardware, a miniaturized electronic circuit comprising many individual circuit elements, such as transistors, diodes, resistors, capacitors, and inductors, etched on a tiny wafer of semiconducting material such as silicon. See also capacitor, circuit, diode, electronics, inductor, resistor, and transistor.
The formal name for the chip. In 1958, Texas Instruments inventor Jack Kilby demonstrated the first electronic circuit in which more than one transistor was fabricated on a single piece of semiconductor material. See chip.
The First Integrated Circuit
About a half inch wide, this archaic-looking collection of two transistors mounted on a bar of germanium was nonetheless the first integrated circuit. It was demonstrated by TI on September 12, 1958. (Image courtesy of Texas Instruments, Inc.)
Seven Years Later
This amplifier circuit from Siemens was mass produced in 1965. Containing three transistors and five resistors on a 1.5 square millimeter chip, it was a world of sophistication compared to the two-transistor breakthough seven years earlier. (Image courtesy of Siemens AG, www.siemens.com)
A device made of interconnected electronic components, such as transistors and resistors, that are etched or imprinted onto a tiny slice of a semiconducting material, such as silicon or germanium. An integrated circuit smaller than a fingernail can hold millions of circuits. Also called chip, microchip.