Chip cooling technology struck by lightning by jianglifang


									The Register                                                                                                  Page 1 of 2

 29 March 2004
 Updated: 14:29 GMT

                              Chip cooling technology struck by
                              By Lucy Sherriff
                              Posted: 25/03/2004 at 14:17 GMT
Register Services             The Register Mobile: Find out what the fuss is about. Take the two week trial
The Register Mobile           today.
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Reg Jobsearch                 The days of noisy fan-cooled laptops and PCs could be
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                              numbered, with tiny lightning storms set to take the heat in the
Mobile, Wireless, PDA Store   cooling process.
Reg Reader Studies
Research Store                Finding new ways to dissipate the heat chips generate is one of
Events & Training
                              the major challenges facing system designers. Water is a more
Luxury Watches
                              efficient coolant than air, but has some rather obvious drawbacks.
Front Page
                              Now, a team at Purdue University in Indiana, funded by the US
Enterprise Systems            National Science Foundation, has developed an air-based
Servers                       technique that, at 40W/cm2 has a cooling rate comparable to that
Storage                       of water.
Personal Hardware
Semiconductors                In an interview with New Scientist, the researchers explain that
Internet                      the key to improving the cooling rate was to create an air flow
Security                      right next to the wall of the heat sink, rather than relying on a fan
Virus News                    to blow air onto the surface.
Data Networking
                              The technology they have developed uses oppositely-charged
                              electrodes sporting bristles of carbon nanotubes. These are
                              positioned on either side of the heat sink wall, and switching on
This Week's Headlines
                              the voltage causes a transfer of electrons which positively ionise
                              the air molecules.

                              This is the same principle by which lightning is formed, but in this
                              case doesn’t produce any sparks. Phew.
Wireless - Operators
                              Once ionised, the molecules will flow across the surface of the
Wireless - Mobile
Devices                       heat sink from the positive to negative electrode, cooling the
                              surface. Cycling the electrodes' voltage creates a constant flow of
Wireless - WLAN
                              molecules.                                                             3/29/2004
The Register                                                                                            Page 2 of 2

Wireless - Mobile Data
Broadband                   Suresh Garimella, who led the research and is a bit of a chip -
The Mac Channel             cooling guru, has a word of caution: the team doesn’t know how
Channel Flannel             efficiently the voltage produces electrons. Unused voltage will be
Small Business              converted to heat, which is a bit of a problem in a cooling system.
Science                     However, the team has managed to use the system to cool metal,
                            and is confident it could be built into a chip. Sort of brings new
                            meaning to the phrase "a storm in a teacup", doesn’t it? ®
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