How Integrated Circuits Work

Integrated circuits are used from everything from the microwave to the computer. But how are they constructed, and what are they constructed from, and most importantly, how do they make things work?

Integrated circuits

are constructed with a number of materials that have been proven to be effective in creating, regulating, and monitoring electrical flow. They consist of a number of diodes, transistors, sensors, and microprocessors. Diodes are electronic devices that regulate flow in the circuit and are essential to the functionality of integrated circuits. 

Transistors are devices that are used for a number of functions such as voltage stabilization and amplification. By being able to place numerous transistors on one tiny chip, circuits can be constructed for many more types of equipment. Integrated circuits are getting more and more complex, with more components on one chip that ever. Integrated circuits have thousands and even millions of transistors on a single chip.

Microprocessors are the most important component to an integrated circuit, which provides memory, and allows ICs to control everything from computers to microwaves. Memory chips are actually an entire group of integrated circuits independent of the Microprocessor. RAM (random access memory) is an integrated circuit that is used in all computers.

To build an integrated circuit, semiconductors, or the components used to create ICs are all created from chemical elements proven to be functional in conducting electrical current. Silicon is the most widely used type of material, though elements such as Germanium and gallium arsenide are still used for some devices. 

Silicon is the most desirable type of material because it is relatively easy to process and has a temperature range that is ideal for electrical devices. Silicon is used for almost every component of the integrated circuit. If fact, chip designers actually use the silicon surface of integrated circuits to create art, or more commonly know as Silicon Graffiti.

With all these components in place, engineers can place integrated circuits in all types of electronic equipment, but on the forefront, is definitely the computer chip. Companies are competing to make the smallest and fastest chips, which increase overall functionality, and also help to be more cost effective.

Angela Oliver is an author for, a wholesale distributor of integrated circuits and other electronic components. Please visit the site for a selection of hard to find electronic components for commercial, industrial, and military needs.