Two bits per transistor: high-density ROM in Intel’s 8087 floating point chip

Ken Shirriff has a great write-up about the multi-level ROM in Intel’s 8087 floating point chip: The 8087 chip provided fast floating point arithmetic for the original IBM PC and became part of the x86 architecture used today. One unusual feature of the 8087 is it contained a multi-level ROM (Read-Only Memory) that stored two […]

Silicon die analysis: Inside an op amp with interesting “butterfly” transistors

An excellent in-depth look at theTL084 op amp by Ken Shirriff: Some integrated circuits have very interesting dies under a microscope, like the chip below with designs that look kind of like butterflies. These patterns are special JFET input transistors that improved the chip’s performance. This chip is a Texas Instruments TL084 quad op amp and […]

New chip delivers DNA results within an hour

Here’s an amazing new DNA testing chip by Panasonic together with the Belgium-based research institution IMEC. It delivers DNA results within an hour: This is the chip we’ve actually developed. As you can see, it’s less than half the size of a business card. It contains everything needed for testing DNA. Once a drop of blood is […]