The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is helping to develop on-chip liquid cooling for field-programmable gate array (FPGA) systems that could easily be adapted for use with CPUs and GPUs. On-chip cooling of this manner would allow manufacturers to shrink the size of processors without having to consider the addition of heatsinks and fans, while increasing the lifespan of chips.
Thomas E. Sarvey, Graduate Research Assistant at the Georgia Institute of Technology, presented the paper Embedded Cooling Technologies for Densely Integrated Electronic Systems, revealing its on-chip liquid cooling research to date, during the IEEE Custom Integrated Circuits Conference 2015.
“We have eliminated the heat sink atop the silicon die by moving liquid cooling just a few hundred microns away from the transistors,” Muhannad Bakir, Associate Professor and ON Semiconductor Junior Professor in the Georgia Tech School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, said. “We believe that reliably integrating microfluidic cooling directly on the silicon will be a disruptive technology for a new generation of electronics.”
The research team cut microfluidic channels into the surface of the FPGA devices and attached a bespoke Altera-supplied water cooling system. It demonstrated the set-up, using another air-cooled FPGA for comparison, to DARPA. The liquid cooled chip clocked in at 24oC, compared to 60oC with the air-cooled control test.
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