As today’s electronics have become smaller and more compact, they have also become more powerful and more comprehensive in their role in all aspects of life. This demand for more power and more applications has led to an increasing emphasis on the importance of integrated circuit design as a subset or a specialization within the electronics engineering field.
Every integrated circuit or IC has to go through the complex task of integrated circuit design, prototype testing and then into production. Since ICs are used in microprocessors, application-specific integrated circuits and even in memory for electronics and computers, the demand for trained professionals to complete the design and development process continues to grow.
While originally circuits were relatively simple, today an integrated circuit design may contain over 1 billion separate transistors. This would be typical of the type of computer chip that would be found in a standard laptop or desktop computer.
With this level of complexity, most of the integrated circuit design completed today is done through computer systems and software that can not only generate the design, but that can also ensure that all design rules are followed.
These design rules, which are parameters that control everything from connectivity to spacing and enclosure of computer chips, must be followed both in the design as well as the production and manufacturing of the chips. Through the computer software, these rule checks are completed, but it still takes human creativity and understanding to input information into the system and to troubleshoot any potential problems in the design.
Process and Steps
There are multiple steps and sub-steps in taking an idea for an integrated circuit and actually creating a chip. This includes the original integrated circuit design steps followed by simulations, analysis, verification, testing, manufacturability measures and considerations for the physical design.
Then, even at this point, there is still the need to made adjustments and modifications to ensure that the chip operates correctly, and also have the ability to test failures and further refine the chip for future generations of the product.
Each step in the process, starting with the integrated circuit design planning and prototype development, is critical both from a cost and time factor. Since these can be incredibly complex systems, and costly to produce and test, working with a top company with experience in IC production is a must.