Georgia Institute of Technology researchers are using microfluidic channels to cool 28nm Altera FPGAs.
The university said that by “flowing de-ionized water through” the “microfluidic passages cut directly into the backsides of production FPGAs […] the researchers have demonstrated a monolithically-cooled chip that can operate at temperatures more than 60% below those of similar air-cooled chips.”
According to ElectronicsWeekly.com, “with a water inlet temperature of around 20C and 147ml/minute flow, the chip operated at under 24C, compared to 60C for an air-cooled device.”
In order to add liquid cooling the heat sink and heat-spreading materials were removed from the backs of stock Altera FPGA chips, cooling passages were “etched” into silicon “incorporating silicon cylinders approximately 100micron in diameter to improve heat transmission into the liquid”, a silicon layer was placed over the flow passages, and “ports were attached for the connection of water tubes” by academic Muhannad Bakir and graduate student Thomas Sarvey, according to ElectronicsWeekly.com.
Bakir commented that “This may open the door to stacking multiple chips, potentially multiple FPGA chips or FPGA chips with other chips that are high in power consumption […] The technique could equally apply to CPUs, GPUs and power amplifiers.”
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