The Microelectronics revolution, where is it taking us?

The Microelectronics revolution, where is it taking us?

November 14, 2020 0 By carolc

Every day we are forced to adapt to various changes, due to the constant technological advances that are presented. One of the great advances that has been presented is the evolution in the microelectronic field.  It is basically the application of electronic engineering to components and circuits of very small, microscopic and even molecular dimensions to produce devices and electronic equipment of small but highly functional dimensions.

Electronics has been around various scenarios in the history of technology. Since the transistor appeared in the 1940s, in the early 1950s microelectronics began to develop, but it was until the 1970s that the public had access to it, when progress in semiconductor technology, attributable in part to the intensity of research associated with space exploration, led to the development of the integrated circuit. The cell phone, CPU microprocessor and Palm-type computer are clear examples of the current scopes of Microelectronics Technology.

The greatest potential of this technology was found in communications, particularly in satellites, television cameras and telephony. Also in the early 1980s microchips began, from there has not stopped the evolution of this technology that has led us to achieve the unimaginable.

Gordon Moore in 1965 analyzed chip production data and noted that the number of elements the technology accommodated within a chip doubled approximately every 18 months. This trend has remained to the present.

What is Microelectronics?

A microelectronics technology is understood as the set of rules, standards, requirements, materials and processes that applied in a given sequence, allows to obtain as a final product an integrated circuit, which are miniaturized electronic devices. The most important are current silicon integrated circuits.

Microelectronics is the technology by which electronic devices packed in high densities are designed in a single piece of semiconductor. This aspect includes the nature of microprocessors and microcontrollers.

Electronics application with Microcontrollers

A large future is displayed for low-cost microcontrollers in the application industry where the low price number of pins counts; small memory devices reach previously unreachable levels. A combination of growing consumer demand for more sophisticated applications and the requirement for competitive differentiation is leading the adoption of electronics within the application industry. Offering microcontrollers is a cheap way to add distinguishing features and improve application efficiency while continuing to reduce the cost of systems. In the past this evolution had not been possible for high volume products due to the relatively high price of small microcontrollers.

Applications are changing from mechanical to completely electronic as microcontrollers have been incorporated into designs. The migration in the mechanic to electromechanical industry, to a completely electronic control has been taking place for several years now. Today, microcontrollers are able to provide intelligence for any electronic solution. While providing intelligence, the primary reasons for electronics adoption are improved reliability, lowering prices and improving energy performance as required by the consumer and government.

An 8-pin microcontroller is sufficient to control a stepper motor using the input and output (I/O) ports as high-current pins. It can be controlled with a simple keyboard using a digital analog converter (ADC) in a single integrated circuit or by using analog comparator (ACMP), or by regulating the PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) output of another integrated circuit and we can also control a direct current motor (CD) using the microcontroller’s ADC to monitor engine speed.

Types of microelectronic products

Thanks to microelectronic technology, it is possible to design and manufacture integrated circuits with small size and optimal operation.

Depending on the level of integration

i.e. the number of components they integrate, microelectronic products can be:

  • Small Integration Scale (SSI): Corresponds to integrated circuits composed of less than 12 doors.
  • Medium Integration Scale (MSI): Comprises built-in ones with a number of doors ranging from 12 to 100. They are the ones used in the early computers of the 70s.
  • Long-scale integration (LSI): these contain more than 100 logical doors up to 1000 doors. These integrated circuits perform full functions. Its appearance gave way to the construction of microprocessors.
  • Very long-scale integration (VLSI): these would be those products with integrated circuits with a number of doors from 1000 to 10000. These are the ones that have given rise to the era of miniaturization of electronic equipment facilitating the manufacture of mobile devices equipment.

Depending on the type of transistor, microelectronic products may be:

  • Bipolar: when the transistor has two types of moving loads.
  • MOS: when using only one type of material without grinding joints that has a single load sign.

Depending on the material used for manufacturing:

  • Silicon: highly purified silicon is an intrinsic semiconductor. It is used to do both to make transistors and integrated circuits.
  • Germanium: used in semiconductors and transistors.
  • Galio Arsenide: used for semiconductors. It is more expensive and fragile than silicon but conducts electricity better and emits light.

Depending on their function:

  • Digital (memories, microprocessors…).

Nano and microelectronics

The objective of nano and microelectronics is the manufacture of integrated circuits minimizing the dimensions of integrated devices and those of their interconnections.

Transistor

The transistor has three parts. One that emits electrons, one that receives or collects them and another with which the passage of such electrons is modulated.

The transistor is therefore used as an amplifier. Also, each of the amplifiers can oscillate so it can be used as an oscillator, rectifier, and as an on / off switch. The transistor also functions as an electronic switch, being this property applied in electronics in the design of some types of memories and other circuits.

Mosfet

The metal oxidesemiconductor field effect transistor (MOSFET) is the device at the center of the microelectronic revolution.

Cmos

Complementary semiconductor metal-oxide. This means that there really is not one but two types of MOSFETs, one that is activated with a voltage above a certain value and a complementary voltage that is activated with a voltage below a different value.

Semiconductor

Semiconductors are the axis of the modern digital electronics industry, they are electronic devices with a high degree of miniaturization and integration of transistors capable of variable electronic behaviors. Enabling the realization of a series of high-speed mathematical operations, digital storage or control of a number of tasks.