how electronic components etc. are made

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by PG1995, Aug 13, 2011.

  1. PG1995

    Thread Starter Well-Known Member

    Apr 15, 2011

    Please keep your replies simple so you can be understood. Many thanks.

    How are electronic components formed? Let me explain myself what I want to know. Let me start with a particular example. Please have a look on this schematic of op-amp. Before we make a certain component we have a rough idea what we need that component to do. But the journey from conception of an idea to realization of that idea is a real task. Going back to that schematic; Before we create a chip of a op-amp, we would have a rough idea what we want to do it. But how the heck one would know that combining transistors, resistors, and capacitors in such a weird way would give us the chip/component which would do what we wanted it to.

    In case of invention of diode it would be have been little simple. Perhaps, someone though that what would happen if one uses elements which are neither metals nor purely non-metals. Then, someone played around a little bit with those elements and keep on improving what one had made. My question is not particularly about amplifiers etc. rather about all those complexly designed components. I hope you understand it.

    Is it a trial and error method? There are many medicines which were not actually invented for the function they are now known for. Some of the examples I can think of offhand are: Minoxidil and Viagra. Some are completely accidental discoveries. The discovery of Penicillin was a quirk of nature.

    When we make a 100-storey building, we know what to do. Use reinforced-concrete, steel, broad base, etc. Even before the invention of concrete, steel, etc. people knew how to make simple houses.


  2. CraigHB


    Aug 12, 2011
    My dad used to work with silicon chips way back in the day. I remember him taking me to his plant one time when I was a kid and seeing all the silicon crystals being grown to be shaved off into chips. Pretty interesting. It's a whole science that has evolved over the years. I think circuit design is still pretty much the same, just the scale and methods of implementation that have advanced over the years.

    As someone who builds things with circuits, I feel like I'm more often just playing with a high-tech lego set than actually designing electronics. Everything is so modular now. The real electronics engineering is done on the chip level.
  3. KJ6EAD

    Senior Member

    Apr 30, 2011
    Smart people had good ideas and worked hard to conquer the complexities.
  4. Adjuster

    Late Member

    Dec 26, 2010
    The design of something like an amplifier IC generally follows rules and principles that have been developed by scientists and engineers over many years. There may occasionally be flashes of inspiration, or even a bit of trial-and-error, but the latter is rare nowadays.
    In the main it is a question of following procedure, using known circuit "building blocks".

    The 741 op-amp is not particularly weird: it may seem so if you are not familiar with such things, but actually it contains some widely used circuit structures. When it was designed, over 40 years ago, it was based on even earlier IC designs, which in turn had a certain amount in common with discrete designs, and even tube differential amplifiers designed in the more distant past.
  5. Wendy


    Mar 24, 2008
    Op amps existed almost as soon as tubes were invented. Modules were sold that had two tubes, they were op amps. Many times tech evolves, and the younger set think it was just invented.

    It is a lot like airplanes, slow steady innovations, little bits of problems solving with occasional Aha! moments.
  6. JingleJoe


    Jul 23, 2011
    The first diodes were thermionic valves, very simply; lightbulbs with extra bits, they were created by accident when trying to stop the light bulbs going black inside. Modern diodes were invented later.


    Through experimentation and huge amounts of work, scientists and engineers figured out how to do many incredible things. We stand on the shoulders of giants.
  7. SgtWookie


    Jul 17, 2007
    You really should read the interview of Hans Camenzind; he is the person who designed the 555 timer IC at Signetics back in the early 1970's. There have been more 555 timers made than any other IC.

    He makes a comparison of how designing an IC was done back then, and how it has been done in recent years. It is a very interesting and informative read.