Your Next Phone Might Be Fuelled By Liquid Metal

Your Next Phone Might Be Fuelled By Liquid Metal

This week rumours have circulated about HTC launching a blisteringly quick 2.5GHz quad-core phone. But that will soon seem paltry when our mobile devices are fuelled by liquid metal.

IBM have been working out how to use liquid to simultaneously fuel and cool processors — and they’ve managed it. In their Zurich Research Laboratory, the team have taken their inspiration from the human brain.

“The human brain is 10,000 times more dense and efficient than any computer today. That’s possible because it uses only one, extremely efficient, network of capillaries and blood vessels to transport heat and energy, all at the same time,” IBM’s Bruno Michel told New Scientist.

First, this bunch of IBM engineers stacked hundreds of silicon wafers on top of each other to create three-dimensional processors. Nothing particularly new there: after all, Intel’s new Ivy Bridge processors, to be launched in 2012, do just that.

But IBM have created channels between the wafers which allow liquid metal — vanadium, to be precise — to run through the entire processor. Because the liquid is metallic, it can be used to carry charged particles that power the chip. As the vanadium loses its charge, it also absorbs heat, meaning the fluid acts as a coolant, too.

The knock-on effect? Far high efficiency, and far higher clock speeds in tiny devices. Which could leave the 2.5GHz HTC quaking in its boots. [New Scientist]

Image: williamcho