What if every time your laptop hit 100°F, you didn't have to hear a noisy fan?
One novel idea is to cool a system by using ions to push air molecules across a hot microprocessor, thereby creating a cooling breeze. So-called ionic-cooling systems have been demonstrated in research labs before, but now Tessera, an international chip-packaging company based in San Jose, CA, has demonstrated an ionic-cooling system integrated into a working laptop...
Tessera's ionic cooler sits near a vent inside the laptop. Heat pipes, which transfer heat using the evaporation and condensation of a fluid, draw heat away from the computer's processing units and toward the ionic-cooling system. Inside the ionic-cooling device are two electrodes: one that ionizes air molecules such as nitrogen, and another that acts as a receiver for those molecules. When a voltage is applied between the two electrodes, the ions flow from the emitter electrode to the collector. As they move, their momentum pushes neutral air molecules across a hot spot, cooling it down...
The system can extract roughly 30 percent more heat from a laptop than a conventional fan can, and lab tests show that it could potentially consume only half as much power, the company says...
Tessera isn't the only company looking at ionic breeze as a means to cool consumer electronics. Researchers at Garimella's own lab at Purdue have demonstrated a similar technology, which is being developed commercially by an early-stage Silicon Valley startup called Ventiva.
[image via Sherritalley
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