en-entegre-revreIntegrated circuits are miniaturized electronic devices in which a number of active and passive circuit elements are located on or within a continuous body of material to perform the function of a complete circuit. Integrated circuits have a distinctive physical circuit layout, which is first produced in the form of a large scale drawing and later reduced and reproduced in a solid medium by high precision electro chemical processes. The term “integrated circuit” is often used interchangeably with such terms as microchip, silicon chip, semiconductor chip, and micro-electronic device.
The term “topography” describes a three-dimensional, layered “hill and valley” configuration which embodies the miniature electronic circuits of an integrated circuit. The layout of an integrated circuit will include one or more cross-sectional drawings which are superimposed upon each other and which together represent the complete integrated circuit or complete topography. A series of imaging, coating, etching, and doping steps are required to produce a fabricated integrated circuit. The many coating and etching steps are carried out according to various layers of photographic images. Each successive image functions as a miniature stencil to define the design or pattern of each layer. These images are commonly referred to as integrated circuit “masks,” “mask works “or” topography.”