Feeds

US boffins: Laptops will be as hot as the Sun by 2030

Nanodemon tech to prevent notebook novae

The essential guide to IT transformation

US boffins say that the tendency of laptops to run hotter as performance increases is out of control - and notebooks will be as hot as the surface of the sun by 2030.

The American brainboxes reckon to solve the problem by using nanotech demons to violate the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

"Laptops are very hot now, so hot that they are not 'lap' tops anymore," said Avik Ghosh, associate prof at the University of Virginia.

"If we continue at our current pace ... these devices will be as hot as the sun in 10 to 20 years."

Ghosh and his fellow Virginia U boffin Mircea Stan say this just won't do. Unfortunately, the tendency of a laptop to slowly grill the knees of users would seem to be an inevitable consequence of the Second Law of Thermodynamics, which basically says that heat moves from a hot body to a colder one and there's nothing you can do about it.

But Ghosh and Stan reckon there could be a loophole.

"Chlorophyll, for example, can convert photons into energy in highly efficient ways that seem to violate traditional thermodynamic expectations," says Ghosh. He also reckons that "Brownian ratchets" might be used to turn energy into mechanical effort, so reducing heat.

Essentially, in order to pull off such tricks, Ghosh and Stan will need to unscrew an inscrutable physics conundrum posed in 1871 by renowned Scottish brain James Clerk Maxwell, who reckoned you could possibly avoid the Second Law by reducing entropy levels - the amount of natural disorder in the system. This is "Maxwell's Demon", which the two Virginia brainboxes aim to tackle by moving the effort out of theoretical physics and into engineering - particularly nanoengineering, which they think could harness the Demon for the good of humanity.

The new supercool demon nanotech laptops would also - in addition to the crowd-pleasing feature of not vapourising their owners' legs in a ball of molten boiling plasma - have extra good battery life, as they would by necessity waste far less energy than current models. There might also be performance gains.

Indeed, if the Virginian researchers can reach their goal, laptops will be almost the least of the technologies and devices which would benefit - everything from cars to power stations would potentially work much better and more efficiently. It may be a long shot, but that's what basic research is supposed to be about. But not too basic, according to Stan - he wants to get this off the blackboard and into the lab at the very least.

"These theories have been looked at from a physics perspective for years, but not from the perspective of electrical engineering," he says. "So that's where we are trying to break some ground." ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL
It can throw the low cost race if it looks to the cloud
Apple's iWatch? They cannae do it ... they don't have the POWER
Analyst predicts fanbois will have to wait until next year
AMD unveils 'single purpose' graphics card for PC gamers and NO ONE else
Chip maker claims the Radeon R9 285 is 'best in its class'
Barnes & Noble: Swallow a Samsung Nook tablet, please ... pretty please
Novelslab finally on sale with ($199 - $20) price tag
Apple to build WORLD'S BIGGEST iStore in Dubai
It's not the size of your shiny-shiny...
Just in case? Unverified 'supersize me' iPhone 6 pics in sneak leak peek
Is bigger necessarily better for the fruity firm's flagship phone?
Steve Jobs had BETTER BALLS than Atari, says Apple mouse designer
Xerox? Pff, not even in the same league as His Jobsiness
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?