Microchips continue to get smaller in size, delivering better performances in energy conversion with a much smaller volume. However, as a consequence of this, we are generating greater amounts of heat over a smaller surface area.
Cooling revolutionary chip sets has led to some radical solutions. In turn, these solutions opened new possibilities for cooling all kinds of chip sets, including data center infrastructure.
Just as an astronaut uses a space suit with built-in liquid-cooling, so these microchips are each housed in a liquid-cooled membrane. Cooling with air in the traditional way is fine, but liquid conducts heat faster than air, so the cooling is much more efficient. In the devices being pioneered by POWERlab, microchannels of varying diameter provide a cooling system that is tailored to the needs of each chip, as part of a cooling network designed for the entire machine – the hot spots having been identified in advance. Crucially, it is only the hot spots themselves that are targeted – an ultra-efficient strategy.
This “co-designing” of the ultra-compact microchips and their cooling system makes the approach unique, and beats at the heart of spin-off Corintis SA, a start-up which has evolved out of POWERlab, and is currently recruiting.