Swiss researchers took an important step in the development of processors with internal liquid cooling, which can help to eliminate technological bottlenecks resulting from the heat generated by such components. Using a thick double-sided adhesive layer of silicon in gallium nitride devices, they were able to make it part of the circuits instead of simply integrating it to increase market compatibility.
The process to arrive at this result, however, was not simple and required a detailed analysis of applicable geometric shapes. Typically, chips that use this cooling method are built from a system full of channels through which the water passes. Responsible for pumping it, it is attached to the equipment itself.
Even aiding in the dissipation of heat, this impairs energy efficiency, since it demands greater consumption for pumping the substance and, of course, the full functioning of the set. Novelty, on the other hand, solves this problem.
In order for the hottest parts of the gallium nitride portion to be placed close to at least one of the channels and to meet varying width and spacing requirements, the scientists tested several possibilities and, in the best of them, the aforementioned, heat flows of heat of up to 1,700 watts per square centimeter was supported, while the chip’s temperature rise was limited to 60 ° C.
Improvement more than welcome (if possible)
After cutting the channels on the silicon tape with a laser and gluing the chip on it, those responsible for the study pumped the water into the adhesive and, given its proximity to the component, got rid of the later transfer of the liquid to the equipment and its withdrawal.
Finally, they packaged everything on a standard electronic board, which dispenses with the connection to valves traditionally used to power the exclusive cooling system. In short, the device could draw 176 watts while requiring a water flow of less than 1 millimeter per second.
Expanding the application of the project, unfortunately, requires more time, since something simple was chosen for the tests. The greater the complexity, the greater the challenges of adjustments, in addition to the fact that long-term stability is still unknown.
Anyway, according to the authors, considering that about 30% of the energy consumed and that, annually, about 100 billion liters of water are used to cool data centers, with the suggested improvement, the values could be reduced to 1 % of the current amount – and this is something that attracts a lot of attention.