New heat dissipation technique increases circuit power density by 740%
Research team demonstrates new heat dissipation technique increases circuit power density by 740%
A team from the University of Illinois and the University of California, Berkeley has demonstrated a new cooling method that effectively draws heat away from electronics, allowing designers to run 7.4 times more power than conventional heat sinks in a given volume .
Heat is largely the “enemy” of electronics designers, and it’s one of the key limiting factors preventing electronics from getting smaller. If the heat cannot be removed from the circuit, they fail functionally and sometimes physically.
The familiar stacked-die-shaped heatsinks are designed to conduct heat away from sensitive areas and dissipate it where it won’t cause trouble, but the team says they typically don’t dissipate heat from the bottom of the device, where much of the heat is found. produced there.
Next-generation heatsinks try to improve on traditional heatsinks, but the team says they are often made of expensive materials such as diamond, and they often cannot be mounted directly to the surface of a component without a layer of “thermal interface material” ”, which improves contact but inhibits thermal performance.
The team came up with a solution they say radically improves heat emissions without introducing expensive materials.
A new study, published in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Electronics, describes a method that “first coats the device with an electrical layer of a polychlorinated paraxylylene film, followed by a layer of copper. A conformal layer. This brings the copper in close proximity to the heating element, eliminating the need for thermal interface materials.”
Essentially, this new cooling system completely covers all exposed surfaces of the electronics, including the top, bottom, and sides.
The device and the heatsink as a whole perform as efficiently as the heatsink, if not more, without anywhere approaching the volume of the heatsink.
The team successfully tested this ultra-efficient passive cooling method on some gallium nitride power transistors.
For individual circuits, they recorded impressive results — but when they could be stacked together, the effect was greatly increased. “Let’s say you have multiple printed circuit boards,” said study lead author Tarik Gebrael, a doctoral student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
“When you use our coatings, you can stack more printed circuit boards in the same volume than you would with a traditional liquid or air-cooled heatsink…. That means The power per unit volume is much higher. We were able to demonstrate a 740% increase in power per unit volume.”
The study confirms that this conformal copper coating is suitable for both air and water cooling applications, although further testing is required to understand this solution in boiling water, boiling dielectric fluids, high pressure applications and simpler than the one used in the study Test device durability in more complex circuits.
The paper was published in the journal Nature Electronics .