Very-large-scale integration (VLSI) entails the process of creating an integrated circuit (IC) by combining thousands of transistors into a single chip. A good example is a microprocessor. VLSI was developed in the 1970s when complex semiconductor and communication technologies were being developed. It was designed in need to reduce the size of devices and their heat dissipation. This is because initially technology was based on vacuum tubes and in which devices were huge and bulky making them unreliable.
The fact that they required more power and dispersed a lot of heat also made them risky to use.
What is an integrated circuit?
This is the circuit in which all the passive and active components are fabricated into a single chip. At first, it could only accommodate a few components, but with the increase in complexity of devices, the number of circuits required made the devices look bulky.
Hence, an integration technology was developed to help increase the number of components on a single chip. This helped immensely to reduce the size of devices and significantly on their speed. Based on the number of components to be integrated, they were classified as Small scale integration (1- 100 transistors), Medium Scale Integration (100-1000 number of transistors), large-scale integration (1000-10000 transistors) which ultimately led to the VLSI (10000- 1 million transistors on a single chip).
Why is the VLSI a crucial technology?
Can you imagine a day without an electronic gadget? Electronics have become a part of our daily lives and to put it in simple terms VLSI is behind the running of these gadgets.
VLSI chips are being engineered in to work in all fields. For instance;
• Your personal computer, cell phone, digital camera or any electronic gadget incorporates the use of VLSI.
• Used in automobiles. This is in the making of safety components like Anti-Lock Braking System in vehicles
• The field of medicine
• Digital signal processing (mainly in the processing of speech)
• Commercial electronics
• Switching telephone circuits
• Data entry
• Voice and data communication networks
Advantages of VLSI
• Smaller size because of fabrication of many circuit elements in a single chip.
• Lower cost because of the mass production.
• Lower power consumption. As the size is small power consumption also becomes less.
• Higher reliability because of doing away with soldered joints and the need for fewer interconnections.
• More functionality.
• Effective use of space
• Reduced weight due to more circuitry per package.
• Easy replacement as in case of failure of a chip, it can easily be replaced.
• The operating speed of components increases.
• Learning VLSI puts in you in demand in the job market.
Disadvantages of VLSI
• Design complexity as there are millions of gate
• High levels of abstraction
The vlsi training is complicated and demanding, making people look away from the field.
The future of VLSI
In 1965, according to Gordon Moore, an industry pioneer predicted that the number of Transistors on a chip doubles every 18 to 24 months. He also predicted that Semiconductor Technology would increase its effectiveness every 18 months and many other factors grow exponentially.
The trend predicted by his law continues to hold with minimal deviations and which doesn’t show any signs of reducing soon. However, this continual growth makes it near the limit of miniaturization of silicon wafers and which makes