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Bicol University

College of Science
Department of Physics

Written Report
(Semiconductors and Semiconductor Devices)

Diana V. Montecastro
BS Chemistry 4
Before we start with the discussion proper let us first recall the concepts we already know. In
Physics 12, we discussed the concept of resistivity. The resistivity of a material is the ratio of the
magnitudes of electric field and current density and usually increases with temperature. A material that
has a small resistivity is good conductor and a material that has a large resistivity is good insulator. A
semiconductor has a resistivity intermediate between those of conductors and those of insulators. In a
metal (conductor), resistivity increases with increasing temperature. Semiconductors on the other hand,
decreases with increasing temperature.

Figure 1 Variation of resistivity with Figure 2 Resistivity Chart

absolute temperature

In Band Theory of solids, the characteristic of all good conductors is that the highest energy band
is only partially filled or two bands overlap so that unoccupied states are available. In a material that is a
good insulator, on the ther hand, the highest and contining electrons, called valence band, is completely
filled. The next highest energy band, called the conduction band, is separated from the valence band by a
forbidden energy gap (or band gap), Eg , of typically 5 to 10 eV. So at room temperature, almost no
electrons can acquire the 5eV needed to reach the conduction band. When a potential difference is applied
across the material, no available states are accessible to the electrons, and no current flows.

Figure 3 Enery bands

The band for a pure (or intrinsic) semiconductor, are like those for an insulator, except that the
unfilled conduction band is separated from the filled valence band by a much smaller energy gap , Eg ,
typically on the order of 1 eV. At room temperaure a feww electrons can acquire enough thermal energy
to reach the conduction band , so a very small current may flow when voltage is applied. Well discuss
the basic concepts using the semiconductor elements silicon (Si) and germanium (Ge) as examples.

Silicon and germanium are in Group IV of the periodic table. Both have four electrons in the
outermost atomic subshells (3s23p2 for silicon, (4s23p2 for germanium), and both crystallize in the
covalently bonded diamond structure. Because all four of the outer electrons are involved in the bonding,
at absolute zero the band structure has a completely empty conduction band. At very low temperatures
electrons cannot jump from the filled valence band into the conduction band. This property makes these
materials insulators at very low temperatures; their electrons have no nearby states available into which
they can move in response to an applied electric field. However, in semiconductors the energy gap, Eg,
between the valence and conduction bands is small in comparison to the gap of 5 eV or more for many
insulators; room-temperature values are 1.12 eV for silicon and only 0.67 eV for germanium. Thus, even
at room temperature a substantial number of electrons can gain enough energy to jump the gap to the
conduction band, where they are dissociated from their parent atoms and are free to move about the
crystal. The number of these electrons increases rapidly with temperature.

Charge carriers
Assuming zero temperature, all electrons of the crystal are bound, all the states in the valence
band are occupied and, consequently, all the states in the conduction band are unfilled. If we apply an
electric field to the crystal, no current will flow since all allowed states are occupied. At zero Kelvin, the
silicon crystal is a perfect insulator. When temperature changes, some of the valence electrons get
enough thermal energy to break the bound and become free electrons.

The thermal energy must be higher than the bandgap Eg for the electrons to occupy a state in the
conduction band. Correspondingly, they leave free states behind in the valence band. A schematic
presentation is given in the Fig. 4.

Figure 4 Movement of electrons and holes in a silicon crystal

Now, let us see what happens when an electric field is applied. The number of free electrons
occupying the states in the conduction band is much lower compared to all the states available in the
valence band. Consequently, they will move when an electric field is applied, resulting in a global charge
transfer corresponding to an electric current. Furthermore, the presence of unoccupied states in the
valence band allows the electrons in the valence band these electrons are also subject to the
macroscopic applied electric field to contribute to the global charge transfer (and to the current). This
way, the unoccupied states move in the opposite direction.

The number of the unoccupied states is small compared to the number of the electrons in the
valence band. It is very common to consider these unoccupied states as free particles (such as the
electrons in the conduction bands) with opposite charge. These unoccupied states are called holes. A hole
has a positive charge q equal to 1.6 10-19C, the same amount as an electron charge, but has opposite
We can conclude that in a silicon crystal (semiconductor) the charge transport (the current flow) is
realized by two types of carriers:
free electrons with negative charge q that move (occupy the states) in the conduction band
free holes with positive charge +q that move (occupy the states) in the valence band

Intrinsic Semiconductor
Absolutely pure semiconductors without any impurities inside the crystal lattice are called
intrinsic semiconductors [Fig. 5(a)]. The fundamental characteristic of a pure semiconductor is the
absolute equality of the number of free electrons and free holes at any temperature.
Suppose there is a hole at site 1 as shown in Fig. 5(b). The movement of holes can be visualized
as shown in Fig. 5(c). An electron from the covalent bond at site 2 may jump to the vacant site 1 (hole).
Thus, after such a jump, the hole is at site 2 and the site 1 has now an electron. Therefore, apparently, the
hole has moved from site 1 to site 2. Note that the electron originally set free [Fig. 5(b)] is not involved in
this process of hole motion. The free electron moves completely independently as conduction electron
and gives rise to an electron current, Ie under an applied electric field. Remember that the motion of hole
is only a convenient way of describing the actual motion of bound electrons, whenever there is an empty
bond anywhere in the crystal. Under the action of an electric field, these holes move towards negative
potential giving the hole current, Ih. The total current, I is thus the sum of the electron current Ie and the
hole current Ih: I = Ie + Ih (14.2) It may be noted that apart from the process of generation of conduction
electrons and holes, a simultaneous process of recombination occurs in which the electrons recombine
with the holes. At equilibrium, the rate of generation is equal to the rate of recombination of charge
carriers. The recombination occurs due to an electron colliding with a hole.

Figure 5 (a) Schematic two-dimensional representation of Si or Ge structure showing covalent bonds at low temperature (all
bonds intact). +4 symbol indicates inner cores of Si or Ge (a) Schematic model of generation of hole at site 1 and conduction
electron due to thermal energy at moderate temperatures. (b) Simplified representation of possible thermal motion of a hole.
The electron from the lower left hand covalent bond (site 2) goes to the earlier hole site1, leaving a hole at its site indicating an
apparent movement of the hole from site 1 to site 2. [ from left to right]

Extrinsic Semiconductor
The conductivity of an intrinsic semiconductor depends on its temperature, but at room
temperature its conductivity is very low. As such, no important electronic devices can be developed using
these semiconductors. Hence there is a necessity of improving their conductivity. This can be done by
making use of impurities. When a small amount, say, a few parts per million (ppm), of a suitable impurity
is added to the pure semiconductor, the conductivity of the semiconductor is increased manifold. Such
materials are known as extrinsic semiconductors or impurity semiconductors. The deliberate addition of
a desirable impurity is called doping and the impurity atoms are called dopants. Such a material is also
called a doped semiconductor. The dopant should be such that it does not distort the original pure
semiconductor lattice. It occupies only a very few of the original semiconductor atom sites in the crystal.
A necessary condition to attain this is that the sizes of the dopant and the semiconductor atoms should be
nearly the same. There are two types of dopants used in doping the tetravalent Si or Ge:
(i) Pentavalent (valency 5); like Arsenic (As), Antimony (Sb), Phosphorous (P), etc.
(ii) Trivalent (valency 3); like Indium (In), Boron (B), Aluminium (Al), etc.

Two Types of Semiconductor

N-type Semiconductor
For, silicon and germanium crystal to conduct electricity, we need to introduce an impurity atom
such as Arsenic, Antimony or Phosphorus into the crystalline structure making it extrinsic (impurities are
added). These atoms have five outer electrons in their outermost orbital to share with neighboring atoms
and are commonly called Pentavalent impurities.
This allows four out of the five orbital electrons to bond with its neighboring silicon atoms
leaving one free electron to become mobile when an electrical voltage is applied (electron flow). As
each impurity atom donates one electron, pentavalent atoms are generally known as donors. In an
energy band diagram (Fig. 7), the energy level of this fifth electron corresponds in the band picture to an
isolated energy level lying in the gap, about 0.01 eV below the bottom of the conduction band. This level
is called a donor level. At room temperature, kT is about 0.025 eV. This is substantially greater than so at
ordinary temperatures, most electrons can gain enough energy to jump from donor levels into the
conduction band, where they are free to wander through the material. The remaining ionized donor stays
at its site in the structure and does not participate in conduction.
Antimony (symbol Sb) as well as Phosphorus (symbol P), are frequently used as a pentavalent
additive to silicon. Antimony has 51 electrons arranged in five shells around its nucleus with the
outermost orbital having five electrons. The resulting semiconductor basics material has an excess of
current-carrying electrons, each with a negative charge, and is therefore referred to as an N-type material
with the electrons called Majority Carriers while the resulting holes are called Minority Carriers.
When stimulated by an external power source, the electrons freed from the silicon atoms by this
stimulation are quickly replaced by the free electrons available from the doped Antimony atoms. But this
action still leaves an extra electron (the freed electron) floating around the doped crystal making it
negatively charged.
Then a semiconductor material is classed as N-type when its donor density is greater than its
acceptor density, in other words, it has more electrons than holes thereby creating a negative pole as
shown in figure 6.

Figure 6 The structure and lattice of the donor impurity atom Antimony. A donor (n-type) impurity atom has a fifth
valence electron that does not participate in the covalent bonding and is very loosely bound.

Figure 7 Energy-band diagram for an n-type semiconductor at a low temperature. One donor electron has
been excited from the donor levels into the conduction band.

P-type Semiconductor

If we go the other way, and introduce a Trivalent (3-electron) impurity into the crystalline
structure, such as Aluminum, Boron or Indium, which have only three valence electrons available in their
outermost orbital, the fourth closed bond cannot be formed. Therefore, a complete connection is not
possible, giving the semiconductor material an abundance of positively charged carriers (holes) in the
structure of the crystal where electrons are effectively missing.

As there is now a hole in the silicon crystal, a neighboring electron is attracted to it and will try to
move into the hole to fill it. However, the electron filling the hole leaves another hole behind it as it
moves. This in turn attracts another electron which in turn creates another hole behind it, and so forth
giving the appearance that the holes are moving as a positive charge through the crystal structure
(conventional current flow).

This movement of holes results in a shortage of electrons in the silicon turning the entire doped
crystal into a positive pole. As each impurity atom generates a hole, trivalent impurities are generally
known as Acceptors as they are continually accepting extra or free electrons. In an energy band
diagram, the stolen electron is bound to the boron atom in a level called an acceptor level about 0.01 eV
above the top of the valence band (Fig. 9)

Boron (symbol B) is commonly used as a trivalent additive as it has only five electrons arranged
in three shells around its nucleus with the outermost orbital having only three electrons. The doping of
Boron atoms causes conduction to consist mainly of positive charge carriers resulting in a P-type material
with the positive holes being called Majority Carriers while the free electrons are called Minority
Carriers. Then a semiconductor basics material is classed as P-type when its acceptor density is greater
than its donor density. Therefore, a P-type semiconductor has more holes than electrons.

Figure 8 The structure and lattice of the acceptor impurity atom Boron. A donor (n-type) impurity atom has a fifth
valence electron that does not participate in the covalent bonding and is very loosely bound. An acceptor (p-type) impurity atom has
only three valence electrons, so it can borrow an electron from a neighboring atom. The resulting hole is free to move about the

Figure 9 Energy-band diagram for a p-type semiconductor at a low temperature. One acceptor level has accepted an electron from the
valence band, leaving a hole behind.
1. PN Junction Diode
A PN Junction Diode is one of the simplest semiconductor devices around, and which has the
characteristic of passing current in only one direction only. However, unlike a resistor, a diode does not
behave linearly with respect to the applied voltage as the diode has an exponential current-voltage ( I-V )
relationship and therefore we cannot described its operation by simply using an equation such as Ohms

Forming a p-n Junction

Doping one side of a piece of silicon with boron (a p-type dopant) and the other side with
phosphorus (an n-type dopant) forms a p-n junction. First, however, consider two separate pieces of
silicon - one being n-type, the other being p-type (see Figure 1).

The n-type material has large numbers of free electrons (negatively charged) that can move
through the material. The number of positively charged phosphorus atoms (called positive ions), which
are not free to move, exactly balance the number and charge of these negative free electrons. Similarly,
for the p-type material, there are large numbers of free holes (positively charged) that can move through
the material. Their number and positive charge is exactly counter-balanced by the number of negatively
charged boron atoms (called negative ions). Now imagine that the n-type and the p-type materials are
brought together (see Figure 2).
It is interesting to see what happens to the electrons and holes once these two pieces of silicon are
joined. Due to the doping of the silicon crystal, there are large numbers of mobile electrons on the n-type
side, but very few mobile electrons on the p-type side. Because of the random thermal motion of the free
electrons, electrons from the n-type side start to diffuse into the p-type side. Similarly, due to the doping
of the silicon, there are large numbers of mobile holes on the p-type side, but very few mobile holes on
the n-type side. Holes in the p-type side, therefore, start to diffuse across into the n-type side.
Now, if the electrons and holes had no electric charge, this diffusion process would eventually
result in the electrons and holes being uniformly distributed throughout the entire volume. They do,
however, have an electric charge and this causes something interesting to happen!
As the electrons in the n-type material diffuse across towards the p-type side, they leave behind
positively charged phosphorus ions, near the interface between the n and p regions. Similarly, the
positive holes in the p-type region diffuse towards the n-type side and leave behind negatively charged
boron ions (see Figure 3).

These fixed ions set up an electric field right at the junction between the n-type and p-type
material. This electric field points from the positively charged ions in the n-type material to the
negatively charged ions in the p-type material. The free electrons and holes are influenced by this "built-
in" electric field with the electrons being attracted towards the positive phosphorus ions and the holes
being attracted towards the negative boron ions.
Thus, the built-in electric field causes some of the electrons and holes to flow in the opposite
direction to the flow caused by diffusion (see Figure 4).
These opposing flows eventually reach a stable equilibrium with the number of electrons flowing
due to diffusion exactly balancing the number of electrons flowing back due to the electric field. The net
flow of electrons across the junction is zero and the net flow of holes across the junction is also zero.

Depletion Region

Within the depletion region, there are very few mobile electrons and holes. It is "depleted" of
mobile charges, leaving only the fixed charges associated with the dopant atoms. As a result, the
depletion region is highly resistive and now behaves as if it were pure crystalline silicon: as a nearly
perfect insulator.

The resistance of the depletion region can be modified by "adding" an external electric field to the
"built-in" electric field. If the "added" electric field is in the same direction as the "built-in" electric field,
the depletion region's resistance will become greater. If the "added" electric field is opposite in direction
to the "built-in" electric field, the depletion region's resistance will become smaller. The depletion region
can therefore be considered to operate as a voltage-controlled resistor.

Forward Bias
If a positive voltage is applied to the p-type side and a negative voltage to the n-type side, current
can flow (depending upon the magnitude of the applied voltage). This configuration is called "Forward
Biased" (see Figure 5).
At the p-n junction, the "built-in" electric field and the applied electric field are in opposite
directions. When these two fields add, the resultant field at the junction is smaller in magnitude than the
magnitude of the original "built-in" electric field. This results in a thinner, less resistive depletion region.
If the applied voltage is large enough, the depletion region's resistance becomes negligible. In silicon,
this occurs at about 0.6 volts forward bias. From 0 to 0.6 volts, there is still considerable resistance due to
the depletion region. Above 0.6 volts, the depletion region's resistance is very small and current flows
virtually unimpeded.
Reverse Bias
If a negative voltage is applied to the p-type side and a positive voltage to the n-type side, no (or
exceptionally small) current flows. This configuration is called "Reverse Biased" (see Figure 6).

At the p-n junction, the "built-in" electric field and the applied electric field are in the same
direction. When these two fields add, the resultant larger electric field is in the same direction as the
"built in" electric field and this creates a thicker, more resistive depletion region. If the applied voltage
becomes larger, the depletion region becomes thicker and more resistive.
In reality, some current will still flow through this resistance, but the resistance is so high that the
current may be considered to be zero. As the applied reverse bias voltage becomes larger, the current
flow will saturate at a constant but very small value. This is approximately 10-12 amperes per cm2 of p-n
junction area.

= 1 1
(Equation 1 is the V-I characteristic of a p-n junction diode)
IV Characteristic the current-voltage behavior is different for forward bias (positive V, or VA in the
semiconductor development,) and for reverse bias (negative V).
Forward Bias: A large current is possible as the applied voltage approaches the device turn-on voltage
(approximately V0 in the semiconductor development).
Forward bias with V >> 0

Reverse Bias: Only a small current is possible (the magnitude is known as the reserve saturation current
Reverse bias with V << 0

2. Light Emiiting Diode

It is a heavily doped p-n junction which under forward bias emits spontaneous radiation. The diode is
encapsulated with a transparent cover so that emitted light can come out.
When the diode is forward biased, electrons are sent from n p (where they are minority
carriers) and holes are sent from p n (where they are minority carriers). At the junction boundary, the
concentration of minority carriers increases compared to the equilibrium concentration (i.e., when there is
no bias). Thus, at the junction boundary on either side of the junction, excess minority carriers are there
which recombine with majority carriers near the junction. On recombination, the energy is released in the
form of photons. Photons with energy equal to or slightly less than the band gap are emitted. When the
forward current of the diode is small, the intensity of light emitted is small. As the forward current
increases, intensity of light increases and reaches a maximum. Further increase in the forward current
results in decrease of light intensity. LEDs are biased such that the light emitting efficiency is maximum.
The V-I characteristics of a LED is similar to that of a Si junction diode. But the threshold
voltages are much higher and slightly different for each colour. The reverse breakdown voltages of LEDs
are very low, typically around 5V. So care should be taken that high reverse voltages do not appear across
LEDs that can emit red, yellow, orange, green and blue light are commercially available. The
semiconductor used for fabrication of visible LEDs must at least have a band gap of 1.8 eV (spectral
range of visible light is from about 0.4 m to 0.7 m, i.e., from about 3 eV to 1.8 eV). The compound
semiconductor Gallium Arsenide Phosphide (GaAs1xPx) is used for making LEDs of different
colours. GaAs0.6 P0.4 (Eg ~ 1.9 eV) is used for red LED. GaAs (Eg ~ 1.4 eV) is used for making infrared
LED. These LEDs find extensive use in remote controls, burglar alarm systems, optical communication,
etc. Extensive research is being done for developing white LEDs which can replace incandescent lamps.
LEDs have the following advantages over conventional incandescent low power lamps:
(i) Low operational voltage and less power.
(ii) Fast action and no warm-up time required.
(iii) The bandwidth of emitted light is 100 to 500 or in other words it is nearly (but not
exactly) monochromatic.
(iv) Long life and ruggedness.
(v) Fast on-off switching capability.

3. Transistor
A transistor has three doped regions forming two p-n junctions between them. Obviously, there are
two types of transistors, as shown in Fig. 14.27.
(i) n-p-n transistor: Here two segments of n-type semiconductor (emitter and collector) are
separated by a segment of p-type semiconductor (base).
(ii) (ii) p-n-p transistor: Here two segments of p-type semiconductor (termed as emitter and
collector) are separated by a segment of n-type semiconductor (termed as base).
The schematic representations of an n-p-n and a p-n-p configuration are shown in Fig. 14.27(a). All
the three segments of a transistor have different thickness and their doping levels are also different. In the
schematic symbols used for representing p-n-p and n-p-n transistors [Fig. 14.27(b)] the arrowhead shows
the direction of conventional current in the transistor. A brief description of the three segments of a
transistor is given below:
Emitter: This is the segment on one side of the transistor shown in Fig. 14.27(a). It is of
moderate size and heavily doped. It supplies a large number of majority carriers for the
current flow through the transistor.
Base: This is the central segment. It is very thin and lightly doped.
Collector: This segment collects a major portion of the majority carriers supplied by the
emitter. The collector side is moderately doped and larger in size as compared to the emitter.

We have seen earlier in the case of a p-n junction, that there is a formation of depletion region
acorss the junction. In case of a transistor depletion regions are formed at the emitter base-junction and
the basecollector junction. For understanding the action of a transistor, we must consider the nature of
depletion regions formed at these junctions. The charge carriers move across different regions of the
transistor when proper voltages are applied across its terminals.
The biasing of the transistor is done differently for different uses. The transistor can be used in
two distinct ways. Basically, it was invented to function as an amplifier, a device which produces a
enlarged copy of a signal. But later its use as a switch acquired equal importance. We shall study both
these functions and the ways the transistor is biased to achieve these mutually exclusive functions.
First, we shall see what gives the transistor its amplifying capabilities. The transistor works as an
amplifier, with its emitter-base junction forward biased and the base-collector junction reverse biased.
This situation is shown in Fig. 14.28, where VCC and VEE are used for creating the respective biasing.
When the transistor is biased in this way it is said to be in active state. We represent the voltage between
emitter and base as VEB and that between the collector and the base as VCB. In Fig. 14.28, base is a
common terminal for the two power supplies whose other terminals are connected to emitter and
collector, respectively. So, the two power supplies are represented as VEE, and VCC, respectively. In
circuits, where emitter is the common terminal, the power supply between the base and the emitter is
represented as VBB and that between collector and emitter as VCC.
Let us see now the paths of current carriers in the transistor with emitter-base junction forward
biased and base-collector junction reverse biased. The heavily doped emitter has a high concentration of
majority carriers, which will be holes in a p-n-p transistor and electrons in an n-p-n transistor. These
majority carriers enter the base region in large numbers. The base is thin and lightly doped. So, the
majority carriers there would be few. In a p-n-p transistor the majority carriers in the base are electrons
since base is of n-type semiconductor. The large number of holes entering the base from the emitter
swamps the small number of electrons there. As the base collector-junction is reverse biased, these holes,
which appear as minority carriers at the junction, can easily cross the junction and enter the collector. The
holes in the base could move either towards the base terminal to combine with the electrons entering from
outside or cross the junction to enter the collector and reach the collector terminal. The base is made thin
so that most of the holes find themselves near the reverse-biased base-collector junction and so cross the
junction instead of moving to the base terminal.
It is interesting to note that due to forward bias a large current enters the emitter-base junction,
but most of it is diverted to adjacent reverse-biased base-collector junction and the current coming out of
the base becomes a very small fraction of the current that entered the junction. If we represent the hole
current and the electron current crossing the forward biased junction by Ih and Ie respectively then the
total current in a forward biased diode is the sum Ih + Ie. We see that the emitter current IE = Ih + Ie but the
base current IB << Ih + Ie, because a major part of IE goes to collector instead of coming out of the base
terminal. The base current is thus a small fraction of the emitter current.

The current entering the emitter from outside is equal to the emitter current IE. Similarly, the
current emerging from the base terminal is IB and that from collector terminal is IC. It is obvious from the
above description and from a straight forward application of Kirchhoffs law to Fig. 14.28(a) that the
emitter current is the sum of collector current and base current:
IE = IC + IB
We also see that IC IE.
Our description of the direction of motion of the holes is identical with the direction of the
conventional current. But the direction of motion of electrons is just opposite to that of the current. Thus,
in a p-n-p transistor the current enters from emitter into base whereas in a n-p-n transistor it enters from
the base into the emitter. The arrowhead in the emitter shows the direction of the conventional current.
The description about the paths followed by the majority and minority carriers in a n-p-n is
exactly the same as that for the p-n-p transistor. But the current paths are exactly opposite, as shown in
Fig. 14.28. In Fig. 14.28(b) the electrons are the majority carriers supplied by the n-type emitter region.
They cross the thin p-base region and are able to reach the collector to give the collector current, IC. From
the above description, we can conclude that in the active state of the transistor the emitter-base junction
acts as a low resistance while the base collector acts as a high resistance.

4. Integrated Circuits
The conventional method of making circuits is to choose components like diodes, transistor, R, L, C
etc., and connect them by soldering wires in the desired manner. Despite the miniaturization introduced
by the discovery of transistors, such circuits were still bulky. Apart from this, such circuits were less
reliable and less shock proof. The concept of fabricating an entire circuit (consisting of many passive
components like R and C and active devices like diode and transistor) on a small single block (or chip) of
a semiconductor has revolutionized the electronics technology. Such a circuit is known as Integrated
Circuit (IC). The most widely used technology is the Monolithic Integrated Circuit. The word monolithic
is a combination of two greek words, monos means single and lithos means stone. This, in effect, means
that the entire circuit is formed on a single silicon crystal (or chip). The chip dimensions are as small as
1mm 1mm or it could even be smaller. Figure 14.43 shows a chip in its protective plastic case, partly
removed to reveal the connections coming out from the chip to the pins that enable it to make external
Depending on nature of input signals, ICs can be grouped in two categories: (a) linear or analogue
ICs and (b) digital ICs. The linear ICs process analogue signals which change smoothly and
continuously over a range of values between a maximum and a minimum. The output is more or less
directly proportional to the input, i.e., it varies linearly with the input. One of the most useful linear ICs
is the operational amplifier.
The digital ICs process signals that have only two values. They contain circuits such as logic gates.
Depending upon the level of integration (i.e., the number of circuit components or logic gates), the ICs
are termed as Small Scale Integration, SSI (logic gates < 10); Medium Scale Integration, MSI (logic gates
< 100); Large Scale Integration, LSI (logic gates < 1000); and Very Large Scale Integration, VLSI (logic
gates > 1000). The technology of fabrication is very involved but large scale industrial production has
made them very inexpensive.

(Note: All the information written here were acquired from various sources. Plagiarism is not intended. For references email <33)