promoting the sustainable and responsible use of cobalt in all forms

Electronic Technology

One of the key ways that cobalt improves the quality of life is through its use in electronic applications. Everyday life is dependant on electronics and cobalt is present in the majority of electronics in several different roles.

Potentially the most important use of cobalt in electronics is in the cathode of rechargeable batteries. Rechargeable batteries are important for all electronic handheld and portable devices. For example, mobile phones, tablets, laptops and even portable power-tools are dependent on rechargeable batteries. Without rechargeable batteries, mobility would be reduced as electrical applications could not be wireless. Furthermore, rechargeable batteries are vital for electronic vehicles which are needed for a more sustainable planet.

Electric vehicles use rechargeable batteries that utilise cobalt-based cathode technology
Electric vehicles use rechargeable batteries that utilise cobalt-based cathode technology.

It’s not just rechargeable batteries where cobalt is found in electronic technology. Semi-conductors utilise the non-oxidising property of cobalt. The copper wiring present within semi-conductors is heavily packed together. As the current passes through the wiring copper atoms may become loose in a process named electro-migration. Electro-migrations lead to increased resistance within a device and overtime results in device failure.

Cobalt is vital for rechargeable batteries, semi-conductors, hard disk drives, and integrated circuits.

Cobalt is used to coat the microscopic copper wiring inside semi-conductors and prevents copper atoms from moving resulting in chips that are up to 80 times more reliable. The majority of electrical applications contain semi-conductors and they can be found in mobile phones, laptops, medical equipment and homeware appliances. Cobalt can also be found in other areas of integrated circuitry such as in connections, metal leads and packaging.

Finally, cobalt is essential to the digital storage of information inside a hard disk drive. Digital storage of information is vital to everyday life allowing photos, documents and media to be accessed and reproduced.