Aug 17 2007

Ion Cooling

Category: In The MediaChrisM @ 6:33 pm

Although the title (Tiny Wind Engines Cool Computers) of the BBC article is a little mis-leading, the contents certainly made for interesting reading. The basic premise is that by making charged ions flow over a chip’s surface area, no air molecules become stuck to the silicon, thereby making cooling by a fan more efficient. From what I can tell in the article, this only applies to chips that are air cooled, without heat sinks. I feel that the journalist was either constrained by the length of the article requested, or that full research was not carried out before publishing.
Whether this technology could be applied to the surface of a heat sink, and if so, whether similar improvements in efficiency could be expected was not made clear.
Just to clarify, the article refers to fans blowing air over a chip’s surface, though often the hottest chips have a heat sink, with some thermal paste between them, and then a fan stuck on top of all that. Another point not raised is whether a stream of charged ions would adversely effect the transistors operation, and whether this would cause any sort of electro magnetic interference… I don’t know if ions rapidly moving create an EM field, but if they do, this could cause engineers headaches.

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