Breakthrough Cooling Technique? - HotHardware
Breakthrough Cooling Technique?

Breakthrough Cooling Technique?

A new cooling technique, called ionic cooling, has now been demonstrated by researchers at Purdue.  The technique involves the harnessing of ionic winds between two electrodes, which are placed on the back of the chip.

Sadly, the Intel funded technology currently requires massive amounts of energy in order to reach its maximum cooling potential which is about 2.5 times that of normal air cooling:
“For the prototype demonstration, tiny electrodes were placed 10 millimeters apart, on either side of a chip, and thousands of volts were applied to them. The positive electrode was a wire that ran across the anode side of the chip, while several negatively charged cathode electrodes emitted electrons to charge the air from the other side of the chip. In these tests, a chip cooled to 140 degrees Fahrenheit by a traditional fan was further cooled to 95 degrees Fahrenheit with the use of the ionic wind engine.

To eliminate the need for high voltages, the researchers hope to reduce the anode and cathode separation from millimeters to microns, and accordingly reduce the voltages required, compensating by using arrays with stepped voltage gradients, instead of just a single widely separated voltage potential.”
The researchers are hoping to find a way to a reduce the power requirements by reducing the scale of each set of electrodes.
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This is essentially a smaller version of the "Ionic Breeze" air filters you see from the Sharper Image. And when used IN CONJUNCTION with traditional cooling methods, experiments have shown good performance.

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It's interesting that there was a similar story about ionic cooling last year.

http://www.hothardware.com/News/UW_Engineer_Uses_Ionic_Wind_To_Create_Cooling_Chip

The older one was from the University of Wzshington, though. Are these at all related, I wonder?

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That's a pretty interesting idea. From the description, it seems like it's still removing heat via air movement, but this still may have other useful applications where fans are too difficult to place, such as nanoscale devices.

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