Researchers May Have Solved the Problem of Thermal Resistance for ICs

(May 18, 2016) Researchers at Lockheed Martin are further exploring the idea of microspraying hot integrated circuits (ICs) to cool their thermal resistance problem. reported, “The efforts are focused on gallium-nitride (GaN) power amplifiers and associated monolithic microwave ICs (MMICs) which are increasingly used in RF designs. GaN offer many operating advantages including high efficiency, but there is still a lot of heat to dissipate.”

“The Lockheed Martin effort, part of the Interchip/Intrachip Enhanced Cooling (ICECool) program from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Microsystems Technology Office, sprays tiny drops of water on the bottom of microchips, thus dissipating large amounts of heat via [a] cold plate,” said the EE Times.

The liquid-cooling systems are only “250 microns thick, 5 mm long, and 2.5 mm wide,” though the other numbers are “impressive” according to the EE Times: “a 4× reduction in thermal resistance” and “1 kW/cm2” dissipated from a demonstration die with “several local hot spots running over 30 kW/cm2.”

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