Cobalt Could Untangle Chips’ Wiring Problems
Intel and GlobalFoundries are replacing some copper connections with the resilient, conductive metal.
Today’s computer chips contain tens of kilometers of copper wiring, built up in 15 or so layers. As the semiconductor industry has shrunk the size of transistors, it has also had to make these interconnects thinner. Today, some wiring layers are so fine that electrical current can actually damage them. And chipmakers are running out of new ways to deal with this problem.
Companies are now eyeing other materials, such as cobalt, ruthenium, even graphene, to replace copper for on-chip wiring…