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Engineering Branches (Electronics Engineering)
Electronic engineers design and test electrical networks (more commonly known as circuits) that take advantage of the electromagnetic properties of electrical components such as resistors, capacitors, inductors, transistors, diodes, and semiconductors to achieve the desired functionality.
Before the invention of the integrated circuit in 1959, electronic circuits were constructed from discrete components that could be manipulated by hand. These non-integrated circuits consumed much space and electrical power, were prone to failure and were limited in speed although they are still common in simple applications. By contrast, integrated circuits packed a large number - often millions - of tiny electrical components, mainly transistors, into a small chip around the size of a coin. This allowed for the powerful computers and other electrical devices we see today.
In designing an integrated circuit, electrical engineers first construct circuit schematics that specify electrical components and describe the interconnections among them. When the schematics are completed, VLSI engineers convert the schematics into actual layouts, which map the layers of various conductor and semiconductor materials on a scale of micrometres and nanometres. The conversion from schematics to layouts can be done by computer programs, although very often human fine-tuning is desirable to decrease space and power consumption.
Today, software simulation is essential in the design process of electronic circuits, especially integrated circuits. Models of semiconductor materials and electrical components are constructed by fabrication plants and manufacturers of electrical components for the purpose of computer simulation.
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