Microfluidic 'front-and-back' process aids chip cooling

September 12, 2020 //By Peter Clarke
Microfluidic 'front-and-back' process aids chip cooling
Researchers at EPFL (Lausanne, Switzerland) have demonstrated the addition of microfluidic cooling channels to a power transistor or power IC.

The research, which has been published in Nature, could enable further miniaturization of power consuming circuits. The work appears to be aimed at the integration of power converters, with several high-voltage devices, into a single chip. However it would also be applicable to highly integrated integrated circuits at the leading-edge of manufacturing.

The researchers developed a process whereby microfluidic channels are etched from the backside of the wafer with access tubes etched from above but leaving a large area of die for conventional circuit processing.

This allowed microfluidic channels to be placed close to the transistor's hot spots. Deionized water was used as the cooling fluid although other dielectric liquids are possible.

The monolithically integrated manifold microchannel cooling structure allows heat fluxes of 1.7 kilowatts per square centimetre to be extracted using only 0.57 watts per square centimeter of pumping power. Heat fluxes exceeding 1kW per square centimeter, corresponding to a 50-fold increase compared to a previous technology of straight microchannels.

Related links and articles:

www.epfl.ch

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