In 1958, something called an integrated circuit, or an IC was invented that completely changed the way computers were run. An integrated circuit is a splendid thing that has truly altered the way people see the digital world. While there is much to learn about circuit boards that can’t be covered in one article, we will tell you the most major things you should know about circuit boards and how they work.
What is a Circuit Board
If you didn’t know a circuit board is a small board that contains as many as billions of little electronic components that take up the surface of a small silicon chip that is about the size of a fingernail. These circuits are used on television, in your tablet, and even on the radio to make things work as they should. It has commonly been called an electric street map that guides connections to the components. They are very fine pieces of equipment that might be small but pack a punch. Computers, like many other things, need circuit boards to work properly.
Back in 1947, there were huge issues with the linking of transistors to one another, and that is when the idea of the circuit board began to come into play. These tiny pieces have helped clean up the idea of computers to leave behind masses of wires and tangles, and many of the devices that we use on a regular basis today are equipped with circuit boards, like smart watches, cell phones, and even tablets.
How They Are Made
Through the use of conductors and insulators, people were able to create something that no one ever expected. Circuit boards are made by starting with a silicon chip, as we mentioned earlier, about the size of your fingernail. The silicone doesn’t start out as this shape either, but it is shaped in the creation process from a wafer until it becomes a chip. It is a very complex process that takes quite a bit of time to complete. The semiconductors must be made in a clean room free of particles in the air, and things must be made on a microscopic level.
The silicon must be cleaned during the creation process, and then it must be etched, doped, and tested before it can be packaged up for use. Once the silicon chip has gone through all the necessary and tedious steps, it is finally packaged into a piece of hard plastic that keeps the delicate silicone safe from dust, debris, and damage. This also keeps it ready to use in electronic devices if those devices are not quite ready for the circuit board just yet.
The Invention of the Circuit Board
Many people are under the impression that Robert Noyce and Jack Kilby created the circuit board together as happy friends who were more than willing to collaborate on this project together. If you are one of those people, you are thinking wrong. In fact, these two men came up with the idea separate of one another, then battled for quite a while for the rights to the invention. It wasn’t a happy time. Integrated circuit boards were just an idea that was waiting to happen at the time, and it was only a matter of time before someone jumped on it. These two men just so happened to jump at the same time.
There was a pretty large overlap in the world during the time of the circuit board creation. Two major companies, Fairchild and Texas Instruments, who battled it out during most of the 1960’s for the rights to this idea. It was actually in 1969 that both companies finally called a truce and shared the title for the creator. This is why many regard both Noyce and Kilby as being joint-creators on the circuit board.
While there have been many advancements in the area of computer processing over the years, the circuit board remains as one of the biggest and most technologically sound additions to the computer world that could have been invented. It changed the way computers and other electronic devices have been run forever, and while it is a tedious process to create one, those who make these every day are unsung heroes in giving me and you the technology we use on a regular basis.