Bell Labs, the research arm of Lucent has developed a method of using micro-amounts of liquid that could help solve a major problem with today’s powerful microprocessors: heat. A possible solution to the problem is Bell Labs ‘nanograss’, tiny tubes that can spray liquid on chip hot spots. Cooling technology used today is applied to the entire chip surface, even though only portions of it require heat dissipation. Because cooling systems can’t be localized, they are inefficient and use too much power. To solve the problem, a chipmaker would plant nanograss on the walls of micro-channels etched on the chip’s surface. That way, liquid would be applied only on the hot spots, with the excess flowing through the channel to a radiator sitting on top of the chip, so it can be cooled and reused. Because the coolant would be applied only where needed, heat would be more effectively dissipated. In addition, less power would be used, because less liquid would be circulated.

Bell Labs, the research arm of Lucent has developed a method of using micro-amounts of liquid that could help solve a major problem with today’s powerful microprocessors: heat. A possible solution to the problem is Bell Labs ‘nanograss’, tiny tubes that can spray liquid on chip hot spots. Cooling technology used today is applied to the entire chip surface, even though only portions of it require heat dissipation. Because cooling systems can’t be localized, they are inefficient and use too much power. To solve the problem, a chipmaker would plant nanograss on the walls of micro-channels etched on the chip’s surface. That way, liquid would be applied only on the hot spots, with the excess flowing through the channel to a radiator sitting on top of the chip, so it can be cooled and reused. Because the coolant would be applied only where needed, heat would be more effectively dissipated. In addition, less power would be used, because less liquid would be circulated.