Processors of the future just got a whole lot cooler

20 Jan 2016

Incorporating nanophotonics in microprocessors to speed up the data transfer capabilities of computers is the goal of many companies at the moment, but overheating in optoelectronic chips has remained a big problem. Until now, perhaps.

In the not-too-distant future, computers will be powered by completely different processing concepts, with parts of the multicore microprocessors of today eventually replaced by plasmonic components.

The reasoning behind this is that photonics will, in theory, allow for mass, instant information transfer that outstrips even the most powerful processors of today.

One of the main issues with developing these components, though, is temperature management as, when photons are transferred, they are absorbed into the metal that will ultimately house the data passage.

This heats up the metal and, ultimately, shorts out any plans of computing.

Now, though, Dmitry Fedyanin and Andrey Vyshnevyy, researchers at MIPT’s Laboratory of Nanooptics and Plasmonics, have found a solution to this problem.

They have demonstrated that using by high-performance thermal interfaces, i.e. layers of thermally conductive materials placed between the chip and the cooling system to ensure efficient heat removal from the chip, high-performance optoelectronic chips can be cooled using conventional cooling systems.

The duo explains their work here:

Main image via Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic