Using microfluidic passages cut directly into the backsides of production field-programmable gate array (FPGA) devices, Georgia Institute of Technology researchers are putting liquid cooling right where it’s needed the most – a few hundred microns away from where the transistors are operating.
Combined with connection technology that operates through structures in the cooling passages, the new technologies could allow development of denser and more powerful integrated electronic systems that would no longer require heat sinks or cooling fans on top of the integrated circuits. Working with popular 28-nanometer FPGA devices made by Altera Corp., the researchers have demonstrated a monolithically-cooled chip that can operate at temperatures more than 60 percent below those of similar air-cooled chips.
In addition to more processing power, the lower temperatures can mean longer device life and less current leakage. The cooling comes from simple de-ionized water flowing through microfluidic passages that replace the massive air-cooled heat sinks normally placed on the backs of chips.
“We believe we have eliminated one of the major barriers to building high-performance systems that are more compact and energy efficient,” said Muhannad Bakir, an associate professor and ON Semiconductor Junior Professor in the Georgia Tech School of Electrical and Computer Engineering. “We have eliminated the heat sink atop the silicon die by moving liquid cooling just a few hundred microns away from the transistors. We believe that reliably integrating microfluidic cooling directly on the silicon will be a disruptive technology for a new generation of electronics.”
Supported by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the research is believed to be the first example of liquid cooling directly on an operating high-performance CMOS chip. Details of the research were presented on September 28 at the IEEE Custom Integrated Circuits Conference in San Jose, Calif.
Liquid cooling has been used to address the heat challenges facing computing systems whose power needs have been increasing. However, existing liquid cooling technology removes heat using cold plates externally attached to fully packaged silicon chips – adding thermal resistance and reducing the heat-rejection efficiency.
To make their liquid cooling system, Bakir and graduate student Thomas Sarvey removed the heat sink and heat-spreading materials from the backs of stock Altera FPGA chips. They then etched cooling passages into the silicon, incorporating silicon cylinders approximately 100 microns in diameter to improve heat transmission into the liquid. A silicon layer was then placed over the flow passages, and ports were attached for the connection of water tubes.
In multiple tests – including a demonstration for DARPA officials in Arlington, Virginia – a liquid-cooled FPGA was operated using a custom processor architecture provided by Altera. With a water inlet temperature of approximately 20 degrees Celsius and an inlet flow rate of 147 milliliters per minute, the liquid-cooled FPGA operated at a temperature of less than 24 degrees Celsius, compared to an air-cooled device that operated at 60 degrees Celsius.
Sudhakar Yalamanchili, a professor in the Georgia Tech School of Electrical and Computer Engineering and one of the research group’s collaborators, joined the team for the DARPA demonstration to discuss electrical-thermal co-design.
“We have created a real electronic platform to evaluate the benefits of liquid cooling versus air cooling,” said Bakir. “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. We are seeing a significant reduction in the temperature of these liquid-cooled chips.”
The research team chose FPGAs for their test because they provide a platform to test different circuit designs, and because FPGAs are common in many market segments, including defense. However, the same technology could also be used to cool CPUs, GPUs and other devices such as power amplifiers, Bakir said.
In addition to improving overall cooling, the system could reduce hotspots in circuits by applying cooling much closer to the power source. Eliminating the heat sink could allow more compact packaging of electronic devices – but only if electrical connection issues are also addressed.
In a separate research project, Bakir’s group has demonstrated the fabrication of copper vias that would run through the silicon columns that are part of the cooling structure fabricated on the FPGAs. Graduate student Hanju Oh, co-advised with College of Engineering Dean Gary May, fabricated high aspect ratio copper vias through the silicon columns, reducing the capacitance of the connections that would carry signals between chips in an array.
“The moment you start thinking about stacking the chips, you need to have copper vias to connect them,” Bakir said. “By bringing system components closer together, we can reduce interconnect length and that will lead to improvements in bandwidth density and reductions in energy use.”
The Latest on: Denser Electronics
via Google News
The Latest on: Denser Electronics
- Hidden Costs In Faster, Low-Power AI Systemson January 20, 2021 at 12:18 am
There is a frenzy of activity around building some form of AI into such edge devices as cars, consumer electronics, medical devices ... The more that circuits are utilized, the denser the heat, the ...
- How to Build a Better Industrial Machineon January 18, 2021 at 4:00 pm
Today’s industrial machine is predominantly electronics. It’s connected to other machines ... the air in the bag has to be denser. A smart machine can self-analyze, adjust, and predict when it needs ...
- The Impending AMD Milan Versus Intel Ice Lake Server Showdownon January 14, 2021 at 4:00 pm
It is also strange, but increasingly common, that we see AMD and Intel making statements about their server processors at the Consumer Electronics Show, but this is the first big IT event of the year ...
- dive scooteron January 13, 2021 at 4:00 pm
To be fair, most of the props [Peter] has printed were used in air, not a fluid that’s hundreds of times denser. The electronics held up very well, considering the bath in salt water.
- A Strategy for Quality: Testing in Contract Electronics Manufacturingon January 12, 2021 at 3:59 pm
The use of contract electronics manufacturing services has become a widely ... that PCBs used in medical devices are now very dense and expected to become denser still. Some factors that may require ...
- New Motorcycle Products to Start the Year, Part 4on January 10, 2021 at 4:00 pm
RSD used our standard foam in the seating area for comfort and denser foam behind the rider for extra support ... your brake system from the master cylinder down. New from Rowe Electronics, the PDM60+ ...
- LG launches hygienic Tone Free earbuds with UV nano technologyon January 7, 2021 at 1:32 pm
Technology giant LG has launched new hygienic earbuds which the company claims eliminates 99.9 per cent bacteria ...
- That very first cell phone call: Marty Cooper’s memoir is a stunning tale worthy of a Netflix serieson January 4, 2021 at 6:57 pm
A young executive is on a guerrilla reconnaissance mission for his employer, a scrappy electronics company ... if people were going to communicate in denser urban environments, the phone would ...
- LG launches hygienic Tone Free earbuds with UV nano technologyon January 4, 2021 at 1:42 pm
LG has added high-quality silicone-infused drivers, dome featuring a stronger metal layer and denser texture dampers ... Business Head-AV division, LG Electronics India. The LG TONE Free FN7 ...
- Catalyst Fund | Business Facilities - Area Economic Development, Site Selection & Workforce Solutionson December 24, 2020 at 4:00 pm
The microchip giant is developing a new class of faster, denser storage and memory technology at the New Mexico facility.
via Bing News