Role of Integrated Circuits
The modern world of medical devices would not be what it is today without integrated circuits (IC). Almost all modern medical electronic products have IC chips that make the devices smaller and work more efficiently. From the small drug delivery systems to the large medical machines used for imaging such as computed tomography (CT) fluoroscopy, radiography, mammography and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), IC chips are critical in all modern medical equipment.
integrated circuit unify all the essential elements of electronics into one unit. On a pea-sized piece of silicon, an IC can contain hundreds of thousands of discrete transistors. That’s a huge leap forward in miniaturization, low power consumption, intelligence and reliability compared to the vacuum tubes that were previously required.
A typical IC contains a number of components such as transistors and resistors that are built on top of each other. They are connected by a network of thin tracks. Thin tracks link the “legs” of different ICs together and to conventional electronic components such as capacitors. ICs are then packaged in various ways and sold to electronics manufacturers who use them to create finished medical devices.
The Role of Integrated Circuits in Medical Devices
The IC industry can be divided into two major categories: integrated device manufacturers and fabless companies. IDMs are vertically integrated companies that design, manufacture and sell their own ICs. They offer design and/or manufacturing (foundry) services to fabless companies, which design their own ICs but outsource the actual production of their designs to fabless foundries like TSMC.
Most large medical tech companies, such as Medtronic, still design their own ICs for their medical devices. Their in-house teams of chip designers typically have a combination of hardware and software engineering departments, plus semiconductor engineers that design the ICs using commercial EDA tools. Using their own in-house team of chip designers gives the larger medical devices manufacturers more control over the final product. However, it’s not unusual for some of them to also work with chip vendors that specialize in designing ICs for medical applications.
CMOS is a key technology in many modern medical devices because it allows the ICs to be made much smaller. This allows for a smaller overall device, which is important in the medical field where space is at a premium. In addition, CMOS allows for higher performance and better battery life.
As a result, it is becoming more common for medical device manufacturers to outsource the design of their ICs to specialized design services firms. This helps them save on costs, reduce time to market and gain access to a wider variety of design capabilities.
Medical device designers must consider the chip vendors that they choose carefully. They need to take into account factors such as financial strength, manufacturing capability and commitment to their business. In addition, they should look at the type of IC and how they are programmed. For example, some programmable logic devices are pre-programmed when they leave the factory, while others can be programmed after being soldered into a circuit board.
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