Vektrex Visits Texas Instruments HQ – Catching a Glimpse into the History of Integrated Circuits

On a visit to the Texas Instruments Headquarters in Dallas, TX, Vektrex CTO Jeff Hulett stopped to appreciate the Nobel Prize Medal of Jack S. Kilby, whose work as an electrical engineer at Texas Instruments in the mid-twentieth century earned him his commemoration as a Nobel Laureate.

Nobel Prize Texas Instruments Jeff Hulett
Vektrex CTO Jeff Hulett admires Jack Kilby’s Nobel Prize Medal awarded in 2000.

Jack S. Kilby was awarded half of the 2000 Nobel Prize in Physics for his part in the invention of the integrated circuit.

On the global impact of ICs, Jeff asserted, “The integrated circuit is like the double helix of semiconductor technology; it underpins basically all electrical devices.”

Without the introduction of the integrated circuit, computers would still occupy entire floors and the modern smartphone would be an impossibility.

Power Semiconductor Testing

Power management integrated circuits (PMICs), in particular, represent a new category of semiconductor devices that can benefit from the robust testing capabilities of SpikeSafe™ Performance Series Precision Pulsed Current Sources.

The new pulsed current sweep feature incorporated into the SpikeSafe Performance Series supports swift device characterization and precise evaluation of device failure via highly adjustable steps in current within a determined range.

Unlike the majority of LED systems, power management integrated circuits do not have a constituent heat sink large enough to handle their required test current and are therefore even more vulnerable to the critical problem of heat seen in semiconductor devices. This problem is alleviated by the SpikeSafe Performance Series Current Sources’ ability to rapidly cycle between high and low current levels, which prevents the overheating of devices commonly caused by overlong ramping-up to reach the designated test current.

The flexible pulse current modes of the SpikeSafe Performance Series accelerate design validation testing and thus reduce the development time cycle, which could facilitate the next generation of advancements to the already essential technology of power management integrated circuits and power semiconductors.