Workshop to Address Tiny Problems with Computer Microchips

PULLMAN, Wash. — Increasing the reliability of copper chips will be among the topics discussed at an international workshop at Washington State University May 17-18.

Invited speakers include industry leaders in the semiconductor industry, including Kenneth P. Rodbell of IBM and the TJ Watson Research Center; John E. Sanchez Jr. from Applied Micro Devices; and Cynthia A. Volkert of the Max Plank Institute in Stuttgart, Germany.

As computer chips get smaller, manufacturers are using increasingly smaller pieces of aluminum in their construction. However, in recent years manufacturers have found that copper survives better than aluminum when increasingly more current has to pass through tiny amounts of the metal. While using copper in computer microchip production is becoming the newest trend, copper has its own set of problems. Researchers are using a technique called electron backscatter diffraction to investigate electronic materials, especially in relation to increasing the copper chips reliability.

The workshop brings together researchers using the electron backscatter diffraction technique to discuss applications, recent results and future developments.

The workshop is sponsored by TSL, the company that first marketed the technique, and hosted by WSU’s Center for Materials Research.

For more information, contact David Field, WSU assistant professor of mechanical and materials engineering,