積體電路小常識

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1987 / 6月

文‧張毅君



自從西元一九五九年,積體電路(IC)取代了電晶體在電子零件中的地位,就一直平步青雲,重要性與日俱增。

積體電路是電子產品中掌管記憶、運算、邏輯等功能的心臟零件,從電子錶、電話、電視、電腦、到汽車、醫用電子儀器……,無一不需要它。

成千上萬個電子元件(電阻、電容等零件)密佈在矽晶片上,有人形容晶片比初生嬰兒的指甲還要小。

為了在一個晶片上「塞」下數萬個元件,IC的電路必須纖細到以微米(一微米等於萬分之一公分,約為一根頭髮寬度的百分之一)為計算單位。而線路愈細,即可容納更多的電子元件,使得成本降低,附加價值提高。

由於技術的不斷改良,積體電路的發展可分為幾個階段:當電子元件數在一千以下時,叫做積體電路(IC);元件數介於一千至十萬則稱之為大型積體電路(LSI);而更複雜者則以超大型積體電路(VLSI)稱之。稱呼不同,是根據矽晶片所容納的電子元件數量區分,無關乎其體積的大小。

若依功能來分,IC又分為線性和數位二種。

線性IC多用在電視、電話等家庭電器上,能夠接收、放大代表聲音或影像的連續電波。

數位IC就像是電腦中的「腦」,其中最重要的是掌管記憶、運算、邏輯功能的「微處理機」,和管資料儲存的「記憶晶片」。

記憶晶片和特殊用途IC是目前各國發展的二個重點。由於記憶晶片可適用在許多用途上,市場需要量大,因此各國紛紛製造,百家齊鳴,競爭益發激烈,戰場上一片殺伐之聲。

如果把記憶晶片比喻作「成衣」,特殊用途IC則是訂做的衣服——它的需要量雖小,但市場上的風險性較低。

而避開「成衣」業的火爆戰場,發展穩當的「訂做」事業,是我們在起步階段要走的一條路。

相關文章

近期文章

EN

IC's in Brief

Jack Chang /tr. by Phil Newell


Since 1959, integrated circuits (IC's) have replaced transistors in most electronic products, and their importance increases daily.

Integrated circuits provide the key part for controlling a wide variety of electronic functions, including memory, calculation, and logic. From watches and televisions to automobiles and medical equipment, there is no product that can't use them.

Although there are incredible amounts of electronic devices (such as resistors, etc.) stuffed into each silicon chip, yet they are small enough to have been described as smaller than an infant's fingernail.

In order to stuff tens of thousands of devices onto each silicon chip, it is necessary to make them so small that one must use "microns" (one micron being equivalent to one ten-thousandth of a centimeter) as the unit of measure. The more fine the circuits, the larger will be the number of devices which can be fit on the chip, thus lowering the cost of production and raising the value added.

The evolution of the IC can be divided into three stages. When the number of devices was below 1,000, they were called simply "integrated circuits." When the number of devices increased to between 1,000 and 100,000, this was called "Large Scale Integration" (LSI); and when the number of devices became still larger, this was called "Very Large Scale Integration" (VLSI). The difference between these types is determined only by differences in the number of devices and has nothing to do with the actual physical size of the chip.

If divided by function, there are two main types of IC: the linear and the digital. The linear IC is used in televisions, telephones, and other products used in the home. It can receive and enlarge continuous waves which represent sounds or images.

The digital IC serves as the real "brain" in a computer. Its most important role is to control the microprocessor, which has the functions of memory, calculation and logic, and it manages the "memory chip" used for storing data.

The memory chip and the special-use integrated circuit are two important factors in every country's development. Because of the versatility of memory chips, the demand for them is strong, so that each country strives to get into that market. The result is that the competition is very intense, and many producers just fall by the wayside.

To draw a comparison, if we say that memory chips are similar to "ready-made clothes," then special-use integrated circuits are "tailor-made clothes." Although the demand for them is small, the risk of producing them is not so great. In order to avoid the intense competition of the "ready-made" industry, the ROC is taking the first steps toward developing a safe and secure niche in the world of the "tailor-made."

 

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