5 Layers Take You Through The Internal Structure Of A Chip : This Is What Professionals Do

22/11/2022 Seektronics

Before we clarify the semiconductor chip, we should first understand two points. One is what a semiconductor is, and the other is what a chip is.





semiconductor, a material with conductivity between insulator and conductor at room temperature. People usually call materials with poor conductivity, such as coal, artificial crystals, amber, ceramics, etc., insulators. And the conductivity of the better metals such as gold, silver, copper, iron, tin, aluminum, etc. called conductors. Compared with conductors and insulators, the discovery of semiconductor materials is the most recent, until the 1930s, when the material purification technology improved, the semiconductor only received the attention of the industry. Common semiconductor materials include silicon, germanium, gallium arsenide, etc., while silicon is the most influential of the various semiconductor materials in terms of commercial applications.




A chip, also known as a microchip, integrated circuit, or IC, is a silicon chip containing an integrated circuit that is small in size. Generally speaking, chip (IC) refers to all semiconductor components, and is a collection of electronic components on a silicon board to achieve a specific function of the circuit module. It is the most important part of electronic devices, undertaking the functions of computing and storage. It is widely used in almost all electronic devices for military and civil applications.


So far you probably have a brief understanding of semiconductors and chips, next let's talk about semiconductor chips.


What is a semiconductor chip?


In general, the semiconductor, integrated circuit, and chip these three things can be equated, because the talk is actually the same thing.

The semiconductor is a material, divided into four categories in the table because the proportion of integrated circuits is very high, more than 80%, the industry is used to the semiconductor industry called the integrated circuit industry.


And the chip is the carrier of the integrated circuit, in a broad sense, we equate the chip with the integrated circuit.


So for the white, just remember, when the chip, integrated circuits, and semiconductors appear, do not panic, is the same code thing.


Semiconductor chip internal structure


Semiconductor chips are small in size. But the internal structure is very complex, especially since it's a core micro unit - thousands of transistors. We will explain the internal structure of semiconductor chip integrated circuits in detail. In general, we use the structure hierarchy from large to small to know the integrated circuit, so that it will be better understood.


(1) System level


Let's take the cell phone as an example again. The whole phone is a complex circuit system that can play games, make phone calls, listen to music, and beep-. Its internal structure is composed of multiple semiconductor chips as well as resistors, inductors, and capacitors interconnected, called the system level. (Of course, as technology has evolved, the technology to make an entire system on a single chip has been around for years - SoC technology)


(2) Module level


The whole system is divided into many functional modules with their own functions. Some manage power, some are responsible for communication, some are responsible for the display, some are responsible for sound, some are responsible for the overall calculation, and so on. We call this the module level. Each of these modules is a magnificent field that gathers the crystallization of countless human wisdom and feeds many companies.


(3) Register Transfer Level (RTL)


So what does each module consist of? Take for example the digital circuit module (which specializes in performing logic operations and processes electrical signals that are discrete zeros and ones), which accounts for a large percentage of the overall system. It is made up of registers and combinational logic circuits.


A register is a circuit structure capable of temporarily storing a logic value, and it requires a clock signal to control the length of time that the logic value is stored.


In practical applications, we need clocks to measure the duration of time, and circuits need clock signals to coordinate the arrangement. A clock signal is a rectangular wave with a stable period. In reality, one second is our basic time scale, and a rectangular wave oscillating for one cycle in a circuit is a time scale for their world. The circuit components act accordingly and fulfill their obligations according to this time scale.


What is combinational logic? It is a combination of many "AND", "OR", and "NOT" logic gates. For example, if two light bulbs are connected in series, each with a switch, the light will be on only when both switches are turned on.


A complex functional module is made up of many registers and combinational logic. Call this level the register transfer level.


(4) Gate level


The registers in the register transmission stage are actually also composed of with or without logic, subdividing it into with, or, or without logic, you reach the gate level (they are like a door, blocking/allowing the entry and exit of electrical signals, hence the name).


(5) Transistor level


Whether it is a digital or analog circuit, at the bottom of the hierarchy is the transistor level. All logic gates (with, or, non, and non, and non, different, or, with or, etc.) are composed of a single transistor. Therefore, the integrated circuit is full of transistors, and the wires that connect them, from macroscopic to microscopic, reach the bottom level.


The bipolar transistor (BJT) was used more in the early days and is commonly known as a triode. It is connected to a resistor, power supply, and capacitor, and itself has the function of amplifying signals. Like building blocks, it can be used to form a variety of circuits, such as switches, voltage/current source circuits, the logic gate circuits mentioned above, filters, comparators, adders, and even integrators, etc. A circuit built from a BJT is called a TTL (Transistor-TransistorLogic) circuit, and the circuit symbol for a BJT looks like this.


But then the emergence of metal-oxide-semiconductor field-effect transistors (MOSFETs), with excellent electrical characteristics, ultra-low power consumption sweep the IC field. Except for analog circuits where BJTs still have a presence, basically, all ICs nowadays are made up of MOS tubes. Likewise, thousands of circuits can be built from it. The circuit symbols of MOSFETs are as follows.


In summary, in actual industrial production, the manufacture of chips, in fact, is the manufacturing process of thousands of transistors. Only, in reality, the manufacturing of chips in the reverse order of layers, from the bottom of the transistor layer up to the build.


In other words, according to the order of "transistors -" chip -" circuit board", we can finally get the core components of electronic products - circuit board.