Integrated Circuit with Chip Art

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Description (Brief)
Integrated circuits consist of electric components such as transistors, resistors, capacitors, and metallic interconnects manufactured at a nanometer scale on a silicon chip. Chip designers are constantly seeking to pack more components into less space making the engineering requirements of chip design almost an art. In the 1970s and early 1980s design engineers began to personalize their chip designs by leaving microscopic images etched inside the chips’ functioning design. These images took a variety of forms; company logos, funny animals, comic characters, or inside jokes between the engineering team. This hidden art helped to show that chip layers were correctly aligned and could prove that a competitor had stolen a chip design. Once chip designs were covered by copyright in 1984, chip art became a way for engineers to assert their individuality into the mass production of chip manufacturing.
This 21msp50/55/56 digital signal processor chip was created by Analog Devices Incorporated around 1994. The chip contains an image of a fire-breathing Godzilla.
date made
ca 1994
Analog Devices, Inc.
Physical Description
silicon (substrate material)
overall: .025 cm x 3.1 cm x 1 cm; in x 1 7/32 in x 13/32 in
ID Number
nonaccession number
catalog number
Credit Line
from Integrated Circuit Engineering Corporation, thru Glen R. Madland
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Work and Industry: Electricity
Computers & Business Machines
American Stories exhibit
American Stories
Exhibition Location
National Museum of American History
Data Source
National Museum of American History


In the early 1970's I worked for Monolithic Memories designing the layout of bipolar PROM's, Rom's and RAM's, and a PLA. In a few of the designs I put the company Newsletter Logo of the Tenacity couldn't see it on the individual layers because you had to imagine how each layer looked after processing to make sense of it. It came out good...but haven't seen it since. We, the other Mask Designers and I regularly put our initials on the chips. BTW. I have some pieces of original 400x drawings and a few overlays etc. Does anyone know if they might have some value to someone? Thanks
I designed ic's in the 70's...a drafting/engineering job. I did a "tenasity devil" on a chip (unrecognizable as layers were drafted...but seen once " grown"). I also put my initials on many chips. I have some pieces of original mylar drafted cells for proms from the 70's MMI chips and other early memorabilia. Maybe these should be in a museum? And not just taking space in my file cabinet.

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