Integrated Circuit

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What Does Integrated Circuit Mean?

An integrated circuit (IC) is a small semiconductor-based electronic device consisting of fabricated transistors, resistors and capacitors. Integrated circuits are the building blocks of most electronic devices and equipment.


An integrated circuit is also known as a chip or microchip.

Techopedia Explains Integrated Circuit

A integrated circuit is built with the primary objective of embedding as many transistors as possible on a single semiconductor chip with numbers reaching in the billions as of 2012.

According to their design assembly, integrated circuits have undergone several generations of advancements and developments such as:

  • Small Scale Integration (SSI): Ten to hundreds of transistors per chip
  • Medium Scale Integration (MSI): Hundreds to thousands of transistors per chip
  • Large Scale Integration (LSI): Thousands to several hundred thousand transistors per chip
  • Very Large Scale Integration (VLSI): Up to 1 million transistors per chip
  • Ultra Large Scale Integration (ULSI): This represents a modern IC with millions and billions of transistors per chip

An IC can be further classified as being digital, analog or a combination of both. The most common example of a modern IC is the computer processor, which consists of billions of fabricated transistors, logic gates and other digital circuitry.


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert
Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.