Magnetic solder might lead to a new computer age

Many countries like Japan and those in the European Union are banning electronics made with lead. This is bad news bears for those companies still using lead-based solder. But there’s a new kid in town that seems to have a solution while addressing a few other issues surrounding stacked computer chips. The key is magnets.

This new type of solder utilizes iron particles in the mixture that gives it magnetic properties, which allows for a near-heatless manufacturing process. Instead of direct heat that can damage surrounding circuits, magnets can be applied to the solder, which cause an internal heating process, therefore slightly melting it while it’s naturally attracted to the magnet allowing it to be precisely applied and manipulated.

Three dimensional silicon chips pack a lot more computing power into a given area, but currently the complicated manufactuereing process limits their use. This new solder might change that as it can easily be drawn up through the layers of chips thanks to the magnetic properties. Previously an expensive and tricky process of chemically drilling a hole, coating it with copper, and relying on surface tension to properly direct the solder was used.

There’s a chance that the solder will be commercially available, but first the the inventor is talking to chipmakers, who may just offer enough money to keep the process to themselves.