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metallization layer

The top layers of a chip that interconnect the transistors and resistors. There are usually two to four such layers made of aluminum that are separated by a silicon dioxide insulation layer. See copper chip.



copper chip

A chip that uses copper rather than aluminum in the top metallization layers, which interconnect all transistors and components together. Copper provides better performance, because it has less resistance than aluminum. Resistance increases as the lines (tracks) get smaller. In order to accommodate ever-decreasing die sizes, materials with inherent less resistance are required. Copper might have been used earlier, but it diffused into the silicon until IBM discovered a way to prevent that from happening. IBM delivered the first copper-based microprocessors in 1998. See metallization layer.



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