Ultra-powerful Laser Makes Silicon Pump Liquid Uphill with No Added Energy

By | March 16, 2010

Ultra-powerful Laser Makes Silicon Pump Liquid Uphill with No Added Energy

Researchers at the University of Rochester’s Institute of Optics have discovered a way to make liquid flow vertically upward along a silicon surface, overcoming the pull of gravity, without pumps or other mechanical devices.

In a paper in the journal Optics Express, professor Chunlei Guo and his assistant Anatoliy Vorobyev demonstrate that by carving intricate patterns in silicon with extremely short, high-powered laser bursts, they can get liquid to climb to the top of a silicon chip like it was being sucked through a straw.

Unlike a straw, though, there is no outside pressure pushing the liquid up; it rises on its own accord. By creating nanometer-scale structures in silicon, Guo greatly increases the attraction that water molecules feel toward it. The attraction, or hydrophile, of the silicon becomes so great, in fact, that it overcomes the strong bond that water molecules feel for other water molecules.

Thus, instead of sticking to each other, the water molecules climb over one another for a chance to be next to the silicon. (This might seem like getting energy for free, but even though the water rises, thus gaining potential energy, the chemical bonds holding the water to the silicon require a lower energy than the ones holding the water molecules to other water molecules.) The water rushes up the surface at speeds of 3.5 cm per second.

Yet the laser incisions are so precise and nondestructive that the surface feels smooth and unaltered to the touch.

In a paper a few months ago in the journal Applied Physics Letters, the same researchers proved that the phenomenon was possible with metal, but extending it to silicon could have some important implications. For instance, Guo said, this work could pave the way for novel cooling systems for computers that operate much more effectively, elegantly, and efficiently than currently available options.

“Heat is definitely the number one problem deterring the design of faster conventional processors,” said Michael Scott, a professor of computer science at the University, who is not involved in this research. …

via Ultra-powerful Laser Makes Silicon Pump Liquid Uphill with No Added Energy : University of Rochester News.

Water moves uphill at 0.078 mile per hour, forever with no extra energy added! Close the system add a little electrical generator spun by the water when it falls after collecting in a pool at the top… I don’t see why this couldn’t be made into something that would qualify as the perpetual motion machine.

4 thoughts on “Ultra-powerful Laser Makes Silicon Pump Liquid Uphill with No Added Energy

  1. mirlen101

    Uh is someone forgetting the powerful laser part ? How can you get efficiency out of something that pushes tiny amounts of water with a HIGH ENERGY laser ? Your using more energy than you get out ;-/ Seems to me a simple pump would be more efficient . If they could achieve the same thing using solar they might have something useful . Interesting though , probably will lead to something eventually 😉

  2. Xeno Post author

    It says: “by carving intricate patterns in silicon with extremely short, high-powered laser bursts, they can get liquid to climb to the top of a silicon chip like it was being sucked through a straw.”

    Seems to me the laser is used one time, to cut the material, and after that you get water moving against gravity, due to capillary action, with no more energy from the laser. Ever. Right??

    1. mirlen101

      Oops your right I should have read it more carefully . Sounds great if it really works .Sounds reasonable . Like to see it in video 😉 Wonder if it could actually be scaled up . I always thought this kind of thing was achievable . I mean look at plants and capillary action . Water is highly attractable . It flows upward all the time when I get a little hole in the roof 😉

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