Researchers promote chip-cooling technology

Information technology managers are focused on room-level solutions, including server-aisle layouts and economizer strategies, to address the cooling needs of today’s overheating data centers.
By Consulting Specifying Engineer Staff September 1, 2008

Information technology managers are focused on room-level solutions, including server-aisle layouts and economizer strategies, to address the cooling needs of today’s overheating data centers. But researchers recently announced a technology that could bring cooling to individual chips and reduce ballooning energy requirements.

Purdue University scientists are exploring the use of microjets that deposit liquid into tiny channels and are capable of cooling chips producing up to 1,000 W of heat/sq centimeter. The channels, less than a millimeter wide, are formed on top of a chip and covered with a metal plate that is perforated with tiny holes. Coolant is pumped through the microjet holes to flow along the channels. Previous cooling techniques have managed cooling rates of 200 W/sq centimeter, the researchers said.

The U.S. Office of Naval Research funded the technology’s development, with an eye toward its advanced radar and propulsion systems and lasers. However, the Purdue researchers said the approach also might have commercial applications in personal computers.