Researchers Send De-ionized Water Within Few Hundred Microns of Transistors

Researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology have announced a breakthrough in increasing processing power. “Their innovative design involves sending liquid coolant—in the form of de-ionized water—through microfluidic passages within a few hundred microns of the transistors, allowing chips to operate at temperatures more than 60 percent lower than air-cooled chips,” according to

This water-cooled design will allow for smaller and more dense and powerful electronics, since cooling fans and heat sinks would no longer be required. The new design also yields more processing power and increases the lifespan of the electronic devices.

“We believe we have eliminated one of the major barriers to building high-performance systems that are more compact and energy efficient. We have eliminated the heat sink atop the silicon die by moving liquid cooling just a few hundred microns away from the transistors. We believe that reliably integrating microfluidic cooling directly on the silicon will be a disruptive technology for a new generation of electronics,” Muhannad Bakir, junior professor at Georgia Tech, said.

“Researchers worked with 28-nanometer field-programmable gate array devices made by Altera, removing the heat sink and heat-spreading materials, and cutting microfluidic passages about 100 microns in diameter (about four-thousands of an inch) onto the back of the FPGAs. They then covered the passages with a layer of silicon and added tubes to carry the water,” according to

This research is believed to be the first time someone has successfully used liquid cooling on high-performance CMOS chips, according to

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