Microfluidic Cooling Systems Developed By DARPA As Coolant For Next-Gen Chips

Posted on Feb 22 2013 - 10:00am by Giancarlo Perlas

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency or DARPA operates under the wings of the Department of Defense. It is responsible in developing technology for the military. This section of the DOD is a popular subject in military science fiction books, TV series, major films and video games.

The agency was featured in the books of best selling authors like Matthew Reilly, James Rollins, Tom Clancy and others. In TV and films, it was also shown in The West Wing, Numb3rs, Executive Decision, Chain Reaction and more. On the other hand, notable games that featured it are Metal Gear, Splinter Cell, Infamous, etc. Basically, this section of the DOD is portrayed as a developer of high-tech weaponry and other awesome stuff for defense most of the time.

However, the people at DARPA are not actually mad scientists who are always developing weapons like how they are portrayed in popular culture. Based on a recent news from Wired, the people there are actually in the process of developing ICECool which involves microfluidic cooling systems.

ICECool comes from the name Intrachip/Interchip Enhanced Cooling. It was actually a product of their brainstorming somewhere in 2012.

DARPA plans to make use of microfluidic cooling systems to serve as a coolant for next generation microchips. The idea is to incorporate small water particles in between the layers of chips to prevent them from frying up.

The thing is, as chips become more powerful, they have the tendency to release more heat. But too much heat can fry them after prolonged use. So, by letting small particles of water to circulate in the layers of the chips, overheating is prevented.

Aside from the benefits that the computers in the Pentagon can get out of ICECool, the microfluidic cooling technology will also serve as a solution to the powerful chips that we have today in our Smartphones, tablets, computers and other complex gadgets that operate on electricity.

But according to DARPA, the procedure is no easy feat. This is because they are actually working on droplets in a microliter or nanoliter scale. The level of water has to be so small because this would prevent it from interfering with the flow of electricity in the systems of the chips. The parts of the microcoolant system where the water will be passing through should also be lined with insulators and small sized water-repellent materials to avoid blocking the flow of data in the chips.

Source: Wired

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A proud dad who loves peanut butter and writing about things related to gizmos, mixed martial arts and other geeky stuff related to science.