As computer chips get smaller and smaller, advances in technology are also making them increasingly faster. These speed increases require more power and this power is being pumped into smaller and smaller areas. The power is mostly dissipated as heat but concentrating intense amounts of heat in such a small area causes problems.
Research teams from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and the University of Oulu have turned to nanotechnology to help remove the heat from these chips.
Heat Related Problems
With chips becoming smaller they are increasingly suited to handheld devices, wireless devices and the like. In such small devices excess heat can not only damage the device but also harm the user. Removing heat from the device traditionally requires cooling fans that require even more energy. This further decreases battery life and has the secondary effect of increasing noise.
Heat sinks can be attached to the chip and used as a stand alone cooling solution or in conjunction with cooling fans. Currently the most practical material to use is copper due to it’s high heat dissipation rate but copper prices are rising and it adds to the weight of the device.
Chip Cooling With Nanotubes
The researchers from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (NY) and the University of Oulu in Finland have used aligned multiwalled carbon nanotube arrays to create tiny fins on the back of silicon chips to dissipate heat. The cooling properties of the fins are similar to ones made from copper but they have numerous advantages.
Advantages of Using Nanotubes For Cooling Computer Chips
The nanotube cooling system has the advantages of being stiff yet flexible and extremely light.