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Integrated circuit or small wafer of semiconductor material embedded with integrated circuitry. Chips comprise the processing and memory units of the modern digital computer (seemicroprocessor; RAM). Chip making is extremely precise and is usually done in a clean room, since even microscopic contamination could render the chip defective. As transistor components have shrunk, the number per chip has doubled about every 18 months (a phenomenon known as Moore's law), from a few thousand in 1971 (Intel Corp.'s first chip) to more than one billion in 2006. Nanotechnology is expected to make transistors even smaller and chips correspondingly more powerful as the technology advances.
Variants of COMPUTER CHIP
computer chip or chip
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on computer chip, visit Britannica.com.
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