A US company called Novellus said yesterday that it had signed a deal with IBM to manufacture integrated circuits using copper interconnections.
Novellus said that it and IBM Microelectronics had been jointly developing manufacturing equipment needed for chips using copper, rather than aluminium connections. Electricity is conducted by copper far better than aluminium.
The company said it has now shipped electro-plating kit to IBM Microelectronics as part of Big Blue's manufacturing process, which will use sub .25 micron process technology.
In return, IBM has licensed its copper electro-plate technology to Novellus, which will use the process as part of a manufacturing suite called Complete Copper.
According to Novellus, the equipment it is providing will allow the creation of over 50 silicon wafers an hour with yields of over 90 per cent.
Novellus said that the announcement meant that global chipmakers will be able to accelerate their move to devices using copper wiring. That, the company said, will bring more powerful consumer and electronic devices with more power and longer battery lives.
IBM Microelectronics is considering licensing its copper technology to other chip manufacturers.
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