Transistor-Integrated Microfluidic Cooling for More Powerful Electronic Chips
Managing the warmth generated in electronics may be a huge problem, especially with the constant push
to scale back the dimensions and pack as many transistors as possible within the same chip.
the entire problem is the way to manage such high heat fluxes efficiently.
Usually electronic technologies, designed by electrical engineers, and cooling systems, designed by mechanical engineers, are done independently and separately.
But now EPFL researchers have quietly revolutionized
the method by combining these two design steps into one:
they’ve developed an integrated microfluidic cooling technology alongside the electronics, which will efficiently manage
the massive heat fluxes generated by transistors.
Their research, which has been published in Nature, will cause even more compact electronic devices
and enable the mixing of power converters, with several high-voltage devices, into one chip.
The best of both worlds
In this ERC-funded project, Professor Elison Mattioli, his doctoral student Remco Van Erp, and their team from the varsity of Engineering’s Power and Wide-band-gap Electronics lab (PowerLab)
began working to cause a true change in mentality
when it involves designing electronic devices, by conceiving the electronics and cooling together, right from the start,
getting to extract the warmth very near the regions
that heat up the foremost within the device.“We wanted to mix skills in electrical and engineering
so as to make a replacement quite a device,” says Van Erp.
The team was looking to unravel the difficulty of the way to cool electronic devices, and particularly transistors.
Managing the warmth produced by these devices is one of the most important challenges in electronics going forward,
” says Elison Mattioli.
“It’s becoming increasingly important to attenuate the environmental impact,
so we’d like innovative cooling technologies which will efficiently process
the massive amounts of warmth produced during a sustainable and cost-effective way.”
Microfluidic channels and hot spots for Transistor-Integrated Microfluidic Cooling
Their technology is predicated on integrating microfluidic channels inside the semiconductor chip, alongside the electronics, so a cooling liquid flows inside an electronic chip.
“We placed microfluidic channels very on the brink of the transistor’s hot spots, with an easy and integrated fabrication process, in order that we could extract the warmth in just the proper place and stop it from spreading throughout the device,” says Mattioli.
The cooling liquid they used was deionized water, which doesn’t conduct electricity. “We chose this liquid for our experiments, but we’re already testing other, simpler liquids in order that we will extract even more heat out of the transistor,” says Van Erp.
Reducing energy consumption
“This cooling technology will enable us to form electronic devices even more compact and will considerably reduce energy consumption around the world,” says Mattioli. “We’ve eliminated the necessity for giant external heat sinks and shown that it’s possible to make ultra-compact power converters during a single chip. this may prove useful as society becomes increasingly reliant on electronics.” The researchers are now watching the way to manage heat in other devices, like lasers and communications systems.