2023.04.01
Industry Trends

Electronics heats up after using! The researchers have come up an new way for cooling called “IC cooling”

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Technology rises, the size of the electronics have become smaller and smaller. The heat generates when  electricity passes by, heat overflow has now become an issue for reducing the scale. Scientists have discovered that nanowires made from silicon isotopes have 150% better thermal conductivity than ordinary silicon, and are expected to be used in computer chips in the future to greatly reduce their temperature.

The current generates a large amount of heat during electronic system operating which can damage components over time. Therefore, the technology industry has also begun to develop cooling technologies. However, as electronic products become smaller and smaller, it is more difficult for heat dissipation effectively.

Researchers discovered that an isotope of silicon called silicon-28 (Si-28) helps make computer chips that cool better than expected. At least 92% of silicon is in the form of silicon-28, another 5% is silicon-29 (Si-29), and the rest is silicon-30 (Si-30). Even though these isotopes have the same electronic function, previous research has found that "impurities" in silicon-29 and silicon-30 interrupt the flow of heat.

As for the bulk components made of silicon-28, the thermal conductivity can be increased by 10%, but it’s not worth the extra cost of production. The researchers then used nanowires made of silicon-28 and found that the thermal conductivity was surprisingly good. It was expected to improve the effect by 20%, but the performance was unexpectedly 150% better than nanowires made of natural silicon.

The reason is that a layer of silicon dioxide is formed on the outside of the nanowire, smoothing the rough surface during the heat dissipation, and because there are no other isotope problems inside the wire, heat can pass through the core of the nanowire smoothly.

This could help in the development of the new computer chips that can transfer heat more efficiently, but isolating silicon-28 from other isotopes is difficult and expensive, but progress in this area is expected in the future.


林唯耕教授

Author

Professor Wei-Keng Lin

Education|Ph.D., University of Maryland

Occupation|Professor, National Tsing Hua University 

Specialty|Electronic package heat dissipation, Heat pipe, Loop heat pipes(CPL,LHP,PHP), Energy-saving design, Solar heat storage and cooling, Heat flow system, Cooling of electronic components, Two-phase flow, Heat transfer elements of artificial satellite and high-altitude flying object

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