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.