Researchers at the Purdue University's Birck Nanotechnology Center have developed a new type of ultra-efficient cooling system, originally designed for radar and supercomputer chips. This system uses a heat-consuming liquid refrigerant flowing through microchannel networks several microns thick, specially created directly in the chip structure. And due to this, the new system has demonstrated a record to date efficiency of heat removal, which is equal to 1000 W per square centimeter of the area of the cooled chip.
In traditional cooling systems, metal radiators are used, dotted with heat-sink plates, which are attached to the chip surface directly or through a heat pipe system. This approach allows you to divert and dissipate the heat generated during the operation of the chip, but the efficiency of this method is not entirely sufficient to cool the nodes of high-frequency and high-power electronics.
"Now you can already pack large enough computing power into the limits of a single-chip scheme." The situation with cooling is further aggravated by the tendency to create multi-layer chips, where each layer is a separate "flat" chip, "says Justin A. Weibel, Professor of Purdu University, "To effectively cool such chips, it will be necessary to provide each layer with its own separate heat sink, without this it will be impossible to use its full power due to the problem of overheating."
It should be noted that the new cooling system was developed as part of a program funded by the Office of Advanced Research Programs of the Pentagon DARPA. The objective of this program is to develop a cooling system that can be integrated into the structure of high-performance chips, which, in their work, produce at least a kilowatt of heat per square centimeter of area, are approximately 10 times larger than the processors of modern computers.
"The microchannel structure and the composition of the cooling liquid, which does not conduct electric current and has a very high heat capacity, allow us to integrate a new cooling system into almost any semiconductor chip, regardless of the number of layers in its structure," says Professor Vejbel. "This approach to cooling will dramatically reduce the size of modern radar systems, create more efficient supercomputers and much more, not only from the military, but also from the civilian field of application. "