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What Is a Chip Inductor?

Jean Marie Asta
Jean Marie Asta

A chip inductor is a chip in an integrated circuit (IC) used in electronic devices to transmit and receive radio frequency (RF) signals with other electronic devices. It can use high or low frequency radio signals as well as frequencies that are self-resonant. They are often found in power lines, RF transceivers, computers, and even in microchips implanted in animals.

Power lines often use chip inductors in circuits with low frequency signals. A chip inductor for a power line may be made with a ferrite core and are wire wound, or have multiple layers of wires. They are used to conserve voltage and are used for filter circuits with low frequency, resonance circuits, and choke. The frequency of the chip inductor is often less than 100 megahertz (MHz). These chips are also compact, lightweight, and have a range of direct current (DC) resistance.

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RF chip inductors, which use a frequency signal over 100 MHz, are used in devices such as mobile phone RF modules, RF transceivers, broadband components, and wireless Local Area Networks (LANs). This type of chip inductor is used for its matching of impedance, for RF choke, and for filter circuits that have high frequency. It can be of similar construction to a chip inductor used in power lines. The chips may be made of a ferrite core and be wire wound, or made with core material that is not magnetic. Construction of the chips will vary frequency range and inductance, but they are also compact and lightweight.

The chip inductor is created by a complex process to make it small and functional. Monolithic inductor chips, which are used in electronic circuits, are formed with a large provision of silk screened, ferrite wafers and conductive elements that are generally in the shape of the letter “U.” Each element’s end portion passes through holes of the wafers, to the bottom points of the wafers. Then, the wafers are stacked on one another and an electric current passes through the U-shaped conductive element found throughout the chip. A resulting coil is formed, and the chips are sometimes called an inductor coil.

Diodes also have chip inductor components. They employ an inductor of solid state which is comprised of a single body with semi-conductive material and opposed major surfaces of the inductor’s body. One surface is for selective resistivity and the other is for a conductivity of first type. There are multiple regions within the body that conduct and resist on the surfaces of the body, allowing electric flow throughout the inductor.

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