Scroll Top

This new water based computer chip brings Terahertz computing in reach



Terahertz computing is a long held ambition for computing companies, and now this POC brings it in reach … eventually


Love the Exponential Future? Join our XPotential Community, future proof yourself with courses from XPotential University, read about exponential tech and trendsconnect, watch a keynote, or browse my blog.

Water is usually something you’d want to keep away from electronic circuits, but engineers in Germany have now developed a new concept for water-based electronic switches that are much faster than current semiconductor materials.


Developers show off next gen apps that get streamed to your phone


Transistors are a fundamental component of electronic systems, and in a basic sense they process data by switching between conductive and non-conductive states – zeroes and ones – as the semiconductor materials in them encounter electrical currents. The speed of this switching, along with the number of transistors in a chip, is a primary factor in how fast a computer system can be.

Now, researchers at Ruhr University Bochum have developed a new type of circuit that can switch much faster than existing semiconductor materials. The key ingredient is, surprisingly, water, with iodide ions dissolved into it to make it salty. A custom-made nozzle fans this water out into a flattened jet only a few microns thick.


New diamond Quantum computer memory stores information for hours


Next, a short but powerful laser pulse is fired into the water jet. This bumps electrons out of the dissolved salts, essentially boosting the conductivity of the water. A second laser can read back what state the water is in, providing the “on” and “off” options of an existing transistor.

Because the laser pulse is so fast, the water can switch states in a matter of picoseconds, which are trillionths of a second. This translates to potentially being able to develop Terahertz Computers – computer speeds in the terahertz (THz) range – that’s 1,000 GHz, which is far faster than any existing semiconductor can switch today.


The first aqueous ionic transistor for liquid computers ran a liquid neural network


Of course, this is just a concept at the moment, and exactly how water-based circuits could be practically scaled up remains to be seen, but it’s an intriguing idea nonetheless.

The research was published in the journal APL Photonics.

Related Posts

Leave a comment


1000's of articles about the exponential future, 1000's of pages of insights, 1000's of videos, and 100's of exponential technologies: Get The Email from 311, your no-nonsense briefing on all the biggest stories in exponential technology and science.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This