circuit, electric: see electric circuit.

Electrically conducting pathway containing both inductance and capacitance elements. When these elements are connected in series, the circuit presents low electrical impedance to alternating current of the same frequency as the resonance frequency of the circuit and high impedance to current of other frequencies. The circuit's resonance frequency is determined by the values of inductance and capacitance. When the circuit elements are connected in parallel, the impedance is high at the resonance frequency and low at other frequencies. With their ability to pass only certain frequencies, tuned circuits are important in, for example, radio and television receivers.

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Electrical device in which the wiring and certain components consist of a thin coat of electrically conductive material applied in a pattern on an insulating substrate. Printed circuits replaced conventional wiring after World War II in much electronic equipment, greatly reducing size and weight while improving reliability and uniformity over the hand-soldered circuits formerly used. They are commonly used to mount integrated circuits on boards for use as plug-in units in computers, televisions, and other electronic devices. Mass-produced printed circuit boards allow automated assembly of electronic components, considerably reducing their cost.

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or microcircuit or chip or microchip

Assembly of microscopic electronic components (transistors, diodes, capacitors, and resistors) and their interconnections fabricated as a single unit on a wafer of semiconducting material, especially silicon. Early ICs of the late 1950s consisted of about 10 components on a chip 0.12 in. (3 mm) square. Very large-scale integration (VLSI) vastly increased circuit density, giving rise to the microprocessor. The first commercially successful IC chip (Intel, 1974) had 4,800 transistors; Intel's Pentium (1993) had 3.2 million, and more than a billion are now achievable.

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or electric circuit

Path that transmits electric current. A circuit includes a battery or a generator that gives energy to the charged particles; devices that use current, such as lamps, motors, or electronic computers; and connecting wires or transmission lines. Circuits can be classified according to the type of current they carry (see alternating current, direct current) or according to whether the current remains whole (series) or divides to flow through several branches simultaneously (parallel). Two basic laws that describe the performance of electric circuits are Ohm's law and Kirchhoff's circuit rules. Seealso tuned circuit.

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