Cobalt Could Untangle Chips’ Wiring Problems

Intel and GlobalFoundries are replacing some copper connections with the resilient, conductive metal

3 min read
Photo: Intel
Photo: Intel

imgWired Up: This Intel transistor, seen in cross section, uses cobalt for lower-resistance wiring.Image: Intel

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.

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The Transistor of 2047: Expert Predictions

What will the device be like on its 100th anniversary?

4 min read
Six men and a woman smiling.

The luminaries who dared predict the future of the transistor for IEEE Spectrum include: [clockwise from left] Gabriel Loh, Sri Samavedam, Sayeef Salahuddin, Richard Schultz, Suman Datta, Tsu-Jae King Liu, and H.-S. Philip Wong.

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The 100th anniversary of the invention of the transistor will happen in 2047. What will transistors be like then? Will they even be the critical computing element they are today? IEEE Spectrum asked experts from around the world for their predictions.

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