|Research by Industry/Sector
January 20, 2018
|Microelectronics Glossary |
A non-mechanical circuit component that has gain or switches current flow, such as a diode, transistor, etc.
A continuous value that most closely resembles the real world and can be as precise as the measuring technique allows.
ASIC (Application Specific Integrated Circuit)
A collection of components used to generate or process analog signals.
An integrated circuit designed to meet a specific customer requirement.
An electrical component that builds and stores voltage for release on command.
An integrated circuit or discrete device. Also called a die.
An area specially constructed to control the air flow, temperature, and humidity in such a way that constant filtration keeps contamination below some predetermined level and temperature and humidity within predetermined limits.
A material capable of carrying (conducting) electricity. Silver is the best electrical conductor. Copper, gold, and aluminum are also popular conductors.
A heat or physical (sputtering) process whereby a thin film of material is deposited over the surface of a silicon wafer or other substrate.
A single square or rectangular piece of semiconductor material into which a specific electrical circuit has been fabricated. Also called a chip or device (IC or discrete).
A high-temperature process by which selected chemicals (dopants) enter the crystalline structure of semiconductor materials to change the electrical characteristics at desired locations. This process takes place in a diffusion furnace.
A method of representing information in an electrical circuit by switching the current ON or OFF. Only two output voltages are possible, usually represented by "0" and "1".
Digital Signal Processor (DSP)
A circuit that operates like a switch and can perform logical functions. Used in computers or similar logic-based equipment.
A primarily digital component used to process either digital or analog signals. In the case of the latter, the signal may first be conditioned, then converted into a digital equivalent using an analog-to-digital (A/D) converter function. The signal conditioning and A/D functions may either be external to the DSP or resident in the device. A typical DSP application might be the compression/decompression of video data.
DIP (Dual In-line Package)
A two-terminal device that only conducts electricity in one direction; in the other direction it behaves like an open switch. The term diode is typically taken to refer to a semiconductor device, although alternative implementations such as vacuum tubes are available.
The most common type of IC package; circuit leads or pins extend symmetrically outward and downward from the long sides of the rectangular package body.
A semiconductor containing only one active element, such as a transistor or a diode.
DRAM (Dynamic Random Access Memory)
A process that uses radio frequency (RF) energy and gas phase chemicals to remove a specific layer during semiconductor wafer processing.
EEPROM or E2PROM (Electrically-Erasable Programmable Read-Only Memory)
A memory device in which each cell is formed from a transistor-capacitor pair. Called dynamic because the capacitor loses its charge over time, and each cell must be periodically recharged if it is to retain its data.
Similar to ROM, but with the capability of selective erasure and programming through special electrical stimulus.
EPROM (Erasable Programmable Read-Only Memory)
An elementary, negatively charged atomic particle.
Similar to ROM, but enables the user to erase stored information. Normally refers to a memory device whose contents may be erased by exposure to ultraviolet light shined through a window in the ceramic package.
EDA (Electronic Design Automation)
The process of removing material (such as oxides or other thin films) in microelectronics manufacturing by chemical, electrolytic or plasma (ion bombardment) means.
Techniques of using a computer to aid in the design of electrical circuits, integrated circuits, gate arrays, and other complex engineering designs in a reasonable time frame.
A semiconductor company that does not have their own wafer manufacturing facility, but subcontracts wafer manufacturing to others.
GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade)
In semiconductor manufacturing, fabrication usually refers to the (front-end) process of making devices on semiconductor wafers, but usually does not include the package assembly (back-end) stages.
HS (Harmonized System)
An international organization and code of tariffs and trade rules that evolved out of the multilateral trade treaty signed in 1947. It was replaced by the World Trade Organization (WTO) on January 1, 1995.
An international convention that was implemented by the United States in 1989 for classifying imports and exports so that data from different countries are compatible.
A microelectronic device consisting of both film circuits and semiconductor elements.
A passive component that opposes changes in current flow that are the result of lagging current changes relative to voltage changes. Inductors acts as antennas and interference suppressors to block out signal interference in TV sets, radios, stereos, telecommunications equipment, etc.
Integrated Circuit (IC)
A material that is a poor conductor of electricity -- used to separate conductors from one another or to protect personnel from electricity.
A semiconductor die containing multiple elements that act together to form the complete device circuit.
A conductive connection between two or more circuit elements. The conductors among elements (transistors, resistors, etc.) on an integrated circuit or between components on a printed circuit board.
A stamped or etched metal frame that provides external electrical connections for a packaged electronic device.
Usually refers to a dimension on a mask or a feature on an IC.
A circuit whose output is an amplified version of its input or whose output is a predetermined variation of its input.
LSI (Large-Scale Integration)
The transfer of a pattern or image from one medium to another, as from a mask to a wafer. If light is used to effect the transfer, the term, "photolithography" applies. Microlithography refers to the process as applied to images with features in the submicron range.
ICs containing 1,000 or more transistors, but less than 100,000.
Metal-Oxide Semiconductor (MOS)
An electron tube used to generate microwave radiation for applications including telephony and radar.
A very common family of transistors where the controlling terminal is connected to a plate separated from the semiconductor by an insulating layer. This plate was originally made of metal (now polysilicon is generally used) and the insulator is an oxide -- hence the "metal-oxide" name.
A microprocessor complete with stored program memory (ROM), random-access memory (RAM), and input/output (I/O) logic. Microcomputers are capable of performing useful work without additional supporting logic. If all functions are on the same chip, this is sometimes called a microcontroller.
One-millionth (10^-6) of a meter. About 40 millionths of an inch. Synonymous with micrometer. Symbol is m.
The basic arithmetic logic of a computer. Also called MPU for microprocessor unit.
NAICS (North American Classification System)
A device whose circuitry is completely contained on a single die or chip.
A new economic classification system adopted by the United States, Canada and Mexico for defining industries and classifying establishments by industry. It replaces the SIC in the United States.
A memory device that maintains the memory states after power is removed.
The protective container for an electronic component, with terminals to provide electrical access to the components inside.
Printed Circuit Board (PCB)
An electrical component without "gain" or current-switching capability. Commonly used when referring to resistors, capacitors or inductors.
PROM (Programmable Read-Only Memory)
A substrate on which a predetermined pattern or printed wiring and printed elements has been formed. Also called a printed wiring board (PWB).
RAM (Random-Access Memory)
A read-only memory that can be programmed after manufacture by external equipment. Typically PROMs utilize fusible links that may be burned open to produce a logic bit in a specific location.
Stores digital information temporarily and can be changed as required. It constitutes the basic (read/write) storage element in a computer.
ROM (Read-Only Memory)
An electrical component used to modify voltage or current in a circuit by providing resistance.
Permanently stores information repeatedly used, such as tables of data, characters of electronic displays, etc. Unlike RAM, ROM cannot be altered.
A material with properties of both a conductor and an insulator. Common semiconductors include silicon and germanium.
SSI (Small-Scale Integration)
The basic element used in most semiconductor devices; i.e.; diodes, transistors, and integrated circuits.
ICs containing fewer than 30 transistors.
Dimensions smaller than one micron.
The final stage of semiconductor manufacturing, where the active device is encased in a plastic, ceramic or metal package. Also referred to as "back-end" processing
The material on which a microelectronic device is built. Such material may be active, like silicon, or passive, like alumina ceramic.
An electrical component used to modify voltage or other characteristics between one circuit and another.
ULSI (Ultra Large Scale Integration)
An active semiconductor device with three electrodes that may be either an amplifier or a switch.
VLSI (Very Large Scale Integration)
ICs containing 10 million or more transistors.
ICs that contain 100,000 or more transistors, but less than 10 million.
Memory devices that lose the stored states when power is removed.
WTO (World Trade Organization)
A thin disk of semiconductor material (usually silicon) on which many separate chips can be fabricated.
Created by the Uruguay Round to succeed GATT on January 1, 1995. It expands GATT's rules to apply to trade in services and intellectual property rights. A tribunal to adjudicate trade disputes also was established.
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