Physicists Figure Out How Microscopic Wires Fail

Kinks caused by nanometer-scale avalanches

2 min read

12 October 2007--A new theoretical model, showing that metals bend differently than previously thought, suggests that engineers and materials scientists may encounter serious problems as they try to make the wires connecting computer chips ever slighter.

Professor Ferenc Csikor of the department of materials physics at Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest and his colleagues found that metals yield to pressure by a series of random events called dislocation avalanches. In a report published today in the journal Science the group described a model of a microscopic stretch of aluminum wire that shows what is really happening when a wire deforms under pressure. As a wire curls from a straight line into a loop, it yields to the pressure only in certain, random regions.

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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.


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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