SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Microprocessor gold-plated contact pins. Close-up of the underside of a computer's central processing unit (CPU), showing the numerous contact pins (gold plated) that form a grid around the central microchip area (not seen). Gold is used because of its excellent electrical conductivity. This is a Xeon microprocessor from Intel, using advanced hafnium-based metal-gate transistor microchip technology that was announced in 2007. These microchips use the transition metal hafnium (Hf) in the insulating layer in the transistors on the silicon (Si) microchips, allowing reduction in size to the 45-nanometre scale.
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