Sorry to ask such a trivial question but I am a non-engineering student currently writing an essay on Moore's law and I can't seem to find how the items in my title relate. An in-depth description of each item would be greatly appreciated! Also if you could please breakdown technical terms, that would be very helpful. Thank you for helping me out.

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Have you read: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Integrated_circuit ? Chips are the same as Integrated Circuits (IC). ICs are made on from a thin disc of silicon called a Wafer. ICs contain small circuits made of transistors. \$\endgroup\$ – Bimpelrekkie Dec 1 '16 at 6:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ Can you explain to me what the role of the wafer is on the chip? I have a good understanding of what a transistor does but not the wafer part. \$\endgroup\$ – Cheeky Nandose Dec 1 '16 at 6:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ @CheekyNandose Quoting wikipedia article on Wafer "A wafer, also called a slice or substrate,[1] is a thin slice of semiconductor material, such as a crystalline silicon, used in electronics for the fabrication of integrated circuits and..." en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wafer_(electronics) \$\endgroup\$ – chamod Dec 1 '16 at 6:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ To my understanding, wafers cover the surface of the pcb. This makes it so that the pcb has semi conductive properties for electricity to flow through. Transistors are then laid on the pcb? \$\endgroup\$ – Cheeky Nandose Dec 1 '16 at 6:59
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ To my understanding, wafers cover the surface of the pcb That is not true ! A PCB has conductive tracks made of copper. Components like transistors, chips, capacitors and resistors are then soldered onto the PCB. \$\endgroup\$ – Bimpelrekkie Dec 1 '16 at 7:10
  • WAFER A thin slice of silicon crystal. Typically ~1mm thick and 200-300mm in diameter. (The size of a medium to large pizza.) We put wafers through hundreds of processing steps to produce....
  • CHIPS or Integrated Circuits. A small rectangular section of the wafer that contains a complete circuit which is used to make computers, phones, etc. Each chip or IC contains thousands, millions or billions of....
  • TRANSISTORS which are the basic building-block of modern integrated circuits. Modern transistors are much smaller than a human hair and can only be seen under a strong microscope. This photo shows a wafer with hundreds of chips before being sliced apart. A few packaged ICs are sitting on top of the wafer.

enter image description here

When the wafer processing is completed. The individual chips are cut out of the wafer and individually packaged. Then these IC packages are soldered onto....

  • PCB or Printed Circuit Board is a thin piece of fiberglass with copper patterns etched on both sides. This photo shows a typical PC board (green) with the copper traces (wires) and several different kinds of electronic components (including integrated circuits) soldered onto the board

enter image description here

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q5paWn7bFg4 PDF: http://download.intel.com/newsroom/kits/chipmaking/pdfs/Sand-to-Silicon_32nm-Version.pdf

  • \$\begingroup\$ With gate widths down to single-digit nanometers today, you haven't been able to see transistors with an ordinary light microscope for quite a few years by now :) still an excellent answer \$\endgroup\$ – Marcus Müller Dec 1 '16 at 9:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ But I don't fully agree on your usage of chip / IC - the integrated circuit, to me, integrates the contacting etc, so whereas you usually don't buy a single die (the rectangular cut of the wafer), you can find ICs in every distributor's stock \$\endgroup\$ – Marcus Müller Dec 1 '16 at 9:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ ... which of course breaks down with wire-to-board packaging and chip-scale-packages, but to me, an IC is "the smallest indivisible unit containing circuity that is still usable for constructing a device. So I'd say "all chips are dies cut from a wafer, but not all ICs are just chips" \$\endgroup\$ – Marcus Müller Dec 1 '16 at 10:08
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Certainly every detail of this answer is oversimplified and will not stand up to rigorous analysis. The OP is non-technical and this is a broad-brush attempt to clear up basic terminology. \$\endgroup\$ – Richard Crowley Dec 1 '16 at 15:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ Richard, fair and good point! \$\endgroup\$ – Marcus Müller Dec 1 '16 at 16:00

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.