Cobalt is a key element in the manufacturing of the devices that power today’s information society.
Batteries & Mobile Devices : An enabling technology
The lithium-ion battery has enabled electronic technologies to become smaller and free from mains electricity. Portable devices such as laptops, mobile phones, tablets and even cutting tools, have all benefitted from the invention of the lithium-ion battery. The lithium-cobalt oxide (LCO) battery is usually used to power these devices while nickel-manganese-cobalt (NMC) batteries are preferred for the high power required by cutting tools and electric vehicles.
Magnetic Recording : An enabling technology
Cobalt is an essential metal for the process of magnetic recording technology as used in data recording devices such as hard disk drives or magnetic tape.
Integrated circuits are part of modern life, whether in computers, phones, smart devices, smart TVs, cars, or domestic appliances. Most integrated circuits are likely to contain cobalt which provides ideal wear resistance and electrical resistivity.
Cobalt is also used in metal leads (a length of wire or a metal pad that comes from a device). Gold is commonly used for marking mechanical electrical contacts. By co-depositing the gold with 15% cobalt, the wear-resistance properties of the metal lead are greatly increased, preventing failure of the integrated circuit in case of cycling when an electrical current passes through it.
Cobalt is also used in the packaging of integrated circuits where cobalt compounds can be used as resistive materials for printed circuit boards (PCBs).
Cobalt is also used in semi-conductors, which are at the heart of the chips that make modern electronics work. The highly competitive nature of the semi-conductor industry means detailed information is highly confidential. .