Print 38 comment(s) - last by luceri.. on Jul 26 at 10:34 AM

No light bulbs were harmed in the making of this new metal.

One weakness inherent in all modern electronics is the heat they produce as waste energy while making their magic. From the lightest and most efficient laptop computers to the advanced multi-million dollar avionics systems in fighter jets, this waste heat can become a problem. As it would happen, the United States Air Force is mostly concerned with only one of these examples.

If left unchecked, the heat created by modern workhorse processors and other high speed microchips can irreparably damage them. An electronics failure of this nature is not an option for fighter pilots. Modern fighter jets, especially the newest fifth generation platforms like the F-22 Raptor and the F-35 Lightning II, rely heavily on their computer systems to retain their air superiority and make the US's jet fighter fleet the most effective in the world.

The United States Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) funds the research of one Dr. Chunlei Guo of the University of Rochester. DailyTech recently reported on Guo's work in high speed lasers, known as femtosecond lasers, in which he was able to create super bright incandescent light bulb filaments by blasting nano and microscopic patterns into the metal. His laser is also able to change the color emitted by the light bulb, as well as the color of raw metals, by forming different patterns on their surfaces. One possible color is a very absorbent shade of black in which the modified metal absorbs almost 100% of the radiation that finds it.

However, what the AFOSR is interested in is not brighter light bulbs, but another property that a metal surface can be made to have, which is an improved sort of capillary action. Guo's laser can be used to etch patterns into the surface that create an environment where the liquid molecules actually stick to the metal better than they stick to themselves. This creates a capillary action where the metal can even pull liquid "uphill." This is of interest to the Air Force because it could be used to enhance cooling systems for their fighters and other aircraft, further lessening the chance of an on-board electronics failure due to stressful conditions.

Khon-Thon Tsen of Arizona State University has used his femtosecond laser to destroy viruses while theoretically leaving delicate human cells unscathed. The international Teramobile project seeks to turn a 30-year-old idea into reality by firing terawatt power femtosecond lasers into thunderclouds, inducing cloud-to-ground lightning. And Guo's laser has already proven its metal sculpting capabilities in various ways.

Guo's laser, using only normal 120-volt wall power, strikes a metal surface with the power of the entire national energy grid at a diameter smaller than a pin point. It is able to pattern a surface the size of a quarter in about 30 minutes, but Guo's team plans to improve this speed.

There will likely be more discoveries and improvements in the future based on Guo's micropatterning laser process. Microscopically altering the surface of metal has been shown to be able to achieve quite a few interesting effects in the past decade. As technology improves, so too will the research aperture expand in this relatively new field. Watch out, transparent aluminum, invisible titanium could be on its way.

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By FITCamaro on 7/22/2009 8:34:29 AM , Rating: 1
This would be a hell of a lot better than what they're having to do to cool the F-35s electronics and other systems.

RE: Awesome
By MrPoletski on 7/22/2009 8:38:17 AM , Rating: 2
More importantly, when can I buy a heatsink for my PC with this tech?

RE: Awesome
By SublimeSimplicity on 7/22/2009 9:09:23 AM , Rating: 2
Who needs a heatsink? Have the laser etch the surface of the chip.

RE: Awesome
By mattclary on 7/22/2009 9:39:15 AM , Rating: 2
The article seems to indicate this is used in conjunction with a liquid cooling system, since it discusses capillary action. That said, for a CPU heatsink to benefit, would probably have to use heat pipes.

RE: Awesome
By TomZ on 7/22/2009 10:13:47 AM , Rating: 5
I think this article should have described in a little more detail how this cooler works. After all, this is Daily Tech .

Also, I had a good laugh at this from the article:
Guo's laser, using only normal 120-volt wall power, strikes a metal surface with the power of the entire national energy grid at a diameter smaller than a pin point.
I think that quote speaks for itself.

RE: Awesome
By 91TTZ on 7/22/2009 11:47:43 AM , Rating: 1
What is surprising about that? It doesn't give the length of time, so it's entirely possible to generate that much power for a tiny fraction of a second. It would just involve the quick release of energy from a bank of capacitors.

RE: Awesome
By AnnihilatorX on 7/22/2009 2:57:08 PM , Rating: 1
I concur that the whole sentence does not contradicts itself. As long as energy is the same, 1 Tera-Watts in 1 pico-sec is the same energy as 1 Watt in 1 sec. So there you go, entire electricity consumption of the world of the former and electricity capable by a battery of the latter.

RE: Awesome
By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 7/23/2009 12:21:32 PM , Rating: 2
I think a femtosecond was mentioned....

RE: Awesome
By 91TTZ on 7/24/2009 4:14:05 PM , Rating: 2
Not in the quote that the other poster brought up. Read it again. He was trying to say that the article didn't make sense by bringing up a quote that sounded odd, but he conveniently left out the time factor that was mentioned in the article.

RE: Awesome
By AnnihilatorX on 7/22/2009 2:52:44 PM , Rating: 5
I think you misunderstood. Tech in DailyTech refers to Technology as in technology related news, not Technicality.

RE: Awesome
By TomZ on 7/22/2009 6:02:54 PM , Rating: 3
Oh, sorry, I thought "tech" meant "technology" meaning that lots of the readers were educated and had an interest in and some understanding of technology. Maybe I'm wrong...

RE: Awesome
By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 7/23/2009 12:22:21 PM , Rating: 2
You need to read MIT Technology Review, where most of this stuff is gleaned from, then.

RE: Awesome
By 91TTZ on 7/22/09, Rating: -1
RE: Awesome
By Aloonatic on 7/22/2009 12:12:43 PM , Rating: 2
RE: Awesome
By 91TTZ on 7/22/2009 4:21:34 PM , Rating: 1
What I should have said was "heat pipes aren't filled up with liquid, they're mostly empty space"

RE: Awesome
By mattclary on 7/23/2009 10:11:30 AM , Rating: 2
Nice attempt at a save. ;)

RE: Awesome
By Cheesew1z69 on 7/24/2009 4:40:50 PM , Rating: 1
They do have liquid in them......

RE: Awesome
By Aloonatic on 7/25/2009 7:04:47 AM , Rating: 2

I know they do, hence the link and the question as to whether their comment was meant to be serious as, if even I know that heat pipes are nut just full of air, then almost everyone else who comes to DT must almost certainly knows this too. Therefore I thought their comment was perhaps a joke?

As it turned out, the poster made the simple mistake of posting a comment that was the exact opposite to what they wanted to say, apparently?!?! :-/

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