Forget traditional metal block coolers a nanowick could remove 10 times the heat of current chip designs
A collaboration of university researchers and top industry experts has created a pumpless liquid cooling system that uses nanotechnology to push the limits of past designs.
A team led by Suresh V. Garimella, the R. Eugene and Susie E. Goodson Distinguished Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Purdue University, may have a solution to cooling higher frequency chips and power electronics. His team cooked up a bleeding edged cooler consisting of tiny copper spheres and carbon nanotubes, which wick coolant passively towards hot electronics.
The new design can wick an incredible 550 watts per square centimeter. Mark North, an engineer with Thermacore comments, "We know the wicking part of the system is working well, so we now need to make sure the rest of the system works."
The design was first verified with computer models made by Gamirella, Jayathi Y. Murthy, a Purdue professor of mechanical engineering, and doctoral student Ram Ranjan. Purdue mechanical engineering professor Timothy Fisher's team then produced physical nanotubes to implement the cooler and test it in an advanced simulated electronic chamber.
Raytheon Co. is helping design the new cooler. Besides Purdue, Thermacore Inc. and Georgia Tech Research Institute are also aiding the research, which is funded by a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) grant. The team says they expect commercial coolers utilizing the tech to hit the market within a few years. Given that commercial cooling companies (Thermacore, Raytheon) were involved, there's credibility in that estimate.