A network of tiny pipes of water could be used to cool next-generation PC chips, researchers at IBM have said.
Scientists at the firm have shown off a prototype device layered with thousands of "hair-width" cooling arteries.
They believe it could be a solution to the increasing amount of heat pumped out by chips as they become smaller and more densely packed with components.
The technology was demonstrated in IBM's 3D chips, where circuits are stacked one on top of the other.
Laying chips vertically, instead of side by side, reduces the distance data has to travel , enhancing performance and saving critical space.
"As we package chips on top of each other....we have found that conventional coolers attached to the back of a chip don't scale," explained Thomas Brunschwiler at IBM's Zurich Research Laboratory.