Electronic Design

Solid Circuit Vs. Micro Component Assembly

While examples of all three approaches to microminiaturization, solid circuits, micromodules and microcomponents soldered together were on display at the IRE Show, the first and last engendered especially strong feeling. Texas Instruments unexpectedly announced marketing of solid-circuit computer devices three years ahead of schedule. Five companies banded together to promote microminiature parts assembly effort under the name of MICRAM.

The two concepts are not mutually exclusive, of course. The first has always been touted as "for three to ten years from now," and the second as an intermediate substitute. But at the show this year, solid circuits took on a certain immediacy in the minds of some engineers. TI's announcement came as a surprise to other companies in the field. Fairchild, Motorola, GE, RCA and Westinghouse are working on solid circuits of their own and may be almost as close to success as TI.

At the same time, the proponents of assembled microparts were arguing the advantages of established reliability and commercial availability—not as an intermediate step, but as a standard production technique that would be cheaper than solid circuits for many years to come. (Electronic Design, April 13, 1960, p. 16)

This looks like the beginnings of the hybrid versus monolithic controversies that were common during the early '60s. Note also the comment about TI introducing its ICs three years ahead of schedule. It's hard to imagine that any semiconductor company would have sat on its first IC for three whole years.

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