33¢ Integrated Circuit
Celebrate the Century – 1960s
Issue Date: September 17, 1999
City: Green Bay, WI
Printed By: Ashton-Potter (USA) Ltd
Printing Method: Lithographed, engraved
The revolution in consumer electronics couldn’t have happened without the integrated circuit. This tiny group of electronic components contained within a semi-conductor chip made hand-held calculators, digital watches, and personal computers available to everyone. The components are so small that millions can be placed on a single chip, which is usually made of silicon.
A need to reduce the size of electronic equipment during World War II led engineers to study methods of making circuits smaller. The integrated circuit developed in the 1960s as a result of this research. The device was used in minicomputers and high-speed mainframes to increase memory capability. But despite the shrinking size of their internal components, most computers remained large and expensive at that time.
Computer technology continued to improve during the 1960s. A variety of circuits affecting the computer’s memory and logic were placed on silicon chips. Soon, all the internal items that made a computer work could be placed on a handful of chips.
Today, the reliability and efficiency of aircraft, space vehicles, military instruments, and other electronic items rely on integrated circuits. Integrated circuit technology continues to grow in complexity while it shrinks in size.