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Avoiding overheating of computer chips is crucial to the processor’s performance. This is currently done thanks to a piece of metal — called a heat sink — attached to the surface of the chip and conducting heat away while being cooled itself by a fan. Unfortunately, the process of attaching these sinks to the chips undergoes unusual fluid dynamics that create “hotspots” that do not conduct the heat properly and thus prevent parts of the chip from cooling effectively.

A team of scientists at IMB Switzerland in Zurich has devised a new attachment method using micro-channels beneath the surface of the heat sink. This network acts like an irrigation system during the gluing process and creates a more even distribution of the temperature within the glue. This produces a subsequent cooling efficiency three times superior to the current system. And of course, we know that cool chips are more efficient!

Source: IBM Zurich Research Laboratory

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