From ArticleWorld

Microelectronics is that branch of electronics which deals with the study and application of electronic circuitry at the microchip level. The word ‘microelectronics’ is also held synonymous with the term Very Large Scale Integration (VLSI).

Circuits that are manufactured at such a scale consist of hundreds of thousands of transistors integrated onto a single chip. As techniques advance, the spaces occupied by microelectronic devices continue to reduce. The ever-burgeoning field of microelectronics is particularly important in areas such as hospitals where speed is crucial. Medical electronics or in particular, biomedical engineering arenas see a lot of microelectronics being deployed.

Military applications

Microelectronics is also being increasingly deployed by the military. Machine-gunfire, air-to-air/surface-to-air missiles and several other systems are electronically controlled in most of the world’s major defence forces. It is not just the army, but also the air force and the navy that have been deploying microelectronics to aid and boost operations. Security systems, employee identification and crime detection are some of the other fields that use microelectronics.

Latest applications

Microelectronics, a field which picked up in the 1960s, is now achieving new dimensions. This field itself has its own sub-fields.

An important offshoot of microelectronics is the emerging RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technology. It is because of breakthrough microelectronics that this new and improved field of identification has emerged. Essentially, it consists of an integrated circuit with memory for storing information on a ‘tag’. The tag can relay information to a remote reader once it is activated. A microcontroller, associated with the reader can be pre-programmed to send the required information to a human operator. This form of detection is nearly foolproof.

Bluetooth technology, another sub-field in the domain of radio frequency systems is also another remarkable development in the field of microelectronics. It has changed the face of mobile communication.

As mentioned above, it is necessary to have a programmed microcontroller for carrying out desired operations. This is precisely what is required in ‘embedded systems’, a broad category of microelectronics that finds application in fields as varied as nuclear technology and automobile engineering.

Ever-expanding, reliable and efficient, the field of microelectronics is the most crucial breakthrough in the history of science. As far as the applications are concerned, the sky is the limit.