Copper Interconnect Architecture

Every chip has a base layer of transistors, with layers of wiring stacked above to connect the transistors to each other and, ultimately, to the rest of the computer. The transistors at the first level of a chip are a complex construction of silicon, metal, and impurities precisely located to create the millions of minuscule on-or-off switches that make up the brains of a microprocessor. Breakthroughs in chip technology have most often been advances in transistor-making. As scientists kept making smaller, faster transistors and packing them closer together, the interconnect started to present problems.

Copper

Aluminium had long been the conductor of choice, but by the mid-1990s it was clear that it would soon reach the technological and physical limits of existing technology. Pushing electrons through smaller and smaller conduits becomes harder to do – aluminium just isn’t fast enough at these new, smaller sizes. Scientists had seen this problem coming for years and sought to find a way to replace aluminium with one of the three metals that conduct electricity better: copper, silver, or gold. However, after many years of trying, no one had succeeded in making a marketable copper chip.

All this changed in September 1998, when IBM used its revolutionary new copper interconnect technology to produce a chip which used copper wires, rather than the traditional aluminium interconnects, to link transistors. It was immediately apparent that this seemingly minor change would have significant repercussions for future processor designs. Copper interconnects promised the ability to shrink die sizes and reduce power consumption, while allowing faster CPU speeds from the same basic design.

IBM has historically been renown for its lead in process technology, but has often failed to capitalise on it commercially. This time it has implemented the technology rapidly, first announcing the 0.18-micron CMOS 7SF Damascus process at the end of 1997. Subsequent development was by a four-company alliance which included fabrication equipment manufacturer Novellus Systems and, in 1999 IBM offered the 7SF process to third parties as part of its silicon foundry services.

One of the problems which had thwarted previous attempts to use copper for electrical connections was its tendency to diffuse into the silicon dioxide substrate used in chips – rendering the chip useless. The secret of IBM’s new technology is a thin barrier layer, usually made from refractory titanium or tungsten nitride. This is applied after the photolithographic etching of the channels in the substrate. A microscopic seed layer of copper is deposited on top of this to enable the subsequent copper layer, deposited over the whole chip by electroplating, to bond. Chemical polishing removes surplus copper.

GD Star Rating
loading...
GD Star Rating
loading...
Copper Interconnect Architecture, 10.0 out of 10 based on 2 ratings

Latest Articles

msi890gxm-g65-1

MSI 890GXM-G65 Review

Price: $127. The MSI 890GXM-G65 motherboard packs a lot of power in a very small space. Bang for buck you are getting a lot for your money.is an Intel 7 series motherboard. Socket H2 (LGA1155) At this time the product has 2 positive reviews on Tigerdirect. Read Reviews here Prices change all … [Read More...]

How to Remove Unlimited Defender

THREAT OVERVIEW: Unlimited Defender is a fake security application that has been designed by cyber criminals with the objective of stealing money from unsuspecting users. This is not a real security client reason why once detected it is recommended to conduct all the necessary steps to … [Read More...]

PostScript Laser Printers

The situation changed dramatically in 1985 with Adobe's announcement of PostScript Level 1, based on Forth and arguably the first standard multi-platform device-independent page description language. PostScript describes pages in outline, vector … [Read More...]

Virus Guides

062315_0249_InBoxNowToo1.gif

InBoxNow Toolbar Removal

The InboxNow toolbar is another browser plugin that promises lots of useful features, but all it gives you is a bunch of headaches. If you have noticed this toolbar in your browser it is recommended to remove it as soon as possible. It will attach … [Read More...]

062615_0020_RemoveInsta1.gif

Remove InstantRadioPlay Toolbar

InstantRadioPlay Toolbar is another problematic toolbar that promises to offer useful features. It will allow you to listen to the radio online through the toolbar. You may think that is a useful feature, but if you have this toolbar, you should make … [Read More...]

Comments

    • Anonymous says

      Provide a source so we can. From all research done this article is accurate. “All this changed in September 1998, when IBM used its revolutionary new copper interconnect technology to produce a chip which used copper wires”. IBM was the first to use copper interconnect technology to produce a chip that used copper wires.

      GD Star Rating
      loading...
      GD Star Rating
      loading...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *