'Ion Wind' CPU cooling solution from Purdue University

Effective cooling solutions have been the albatross around the neck of CPU manufacturing companies since the early days of computing. Now, researchers at Purdue University, in a study funded by Intel, have demonstrated a cooling technique that increases the heat dissipating capacity of CPUs by as much as 250%.

The details of the technology are elucidated at and in the article at Ars Technica. The technology relies on the creation of ionic winds between closely placed electrodes. When a voltage is applied across the electrodes, the electrons collide with air molecules, creating ionic winds in the small spaces.

Conventional air-cooling solutions suffer from the "no-slip" effect, where the air molecules near a surface cling on while the farther placed molecules flow away. This does not cause cooling to occur rapidly. Hence, the ionic winds created at the miniature scale can radically improve the cooling processes. The researchers are hoping for a breakthrough in a year's time, during which CPU makers can happily hunt for more power within micro-packages.

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