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John Wiley and John Perepezko

The collaboration of John Wiley, an electrical and computer engineering professor, and materials scientist John Perepezko helped usher in the era of modern computing. Their chance encounter on the UW–Madison campus would spark an idea that fundamentally changed how integrated circuits are manufactured. They developed a thin-film metal barrier that prevented copper from leaching into silicon, thus improving circuit operation and processing speeds. Their work officially entered the market in 1993.