Bamboo-like Crystals Help Tiny Chip Wires Keep Shrinking

Segmented structure could help electrons flow in future chips

3 min read
Bamboo-like Crystals Help Tiny Chip Wires Keep Shrinking
Copper Crystals Contained: The banded appearance of this cross section of a copper interconnect reveals a crystal structure that could carry current better in future chips.
Image: Lynne Gignac/IBM

When it comes to talk of the end of Moore’s Law, transistors attract much of the attention. But the kilometers of copper wires that connect these devices on each chip have miniaturization problems of their own.

Now it seems the issue might not be as bad as engineers once thought. A team based at IBM and GlobalFoundries examined wires that will be needed for chips after the arrival of the 7-nanometer node, a manufacturing stage expected in three or so years. They found indications of a crystal structure that might actually help speed signals and reduce energy consumption.

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Why Functional Programming Should Be the Future of Software Development

It’s hard to learn, but your code will produce fewer nasty surprises

11 min read
A plate of spaghetti made from code
Shira Inbar

You’d expectthe longest and most costly phase in the lifecycle of a software product to be the initial development of the system, when all those great features are first imagined and then created. In fact, the hardest part comes later, during the maintenance phase. That’s when programmers pay the price for the shortcuts they took during development.

So why did they take shortcuts? Maybe they didn’t realize that they were cutting any corners. Only when their code was deployed and exercised by a lot of users did its hidden flaws come to light. And maybe the developers were rushed. Time-to-market pressures would almost guarantee that their software will contain more bugs than it would otherwise.

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