Journal article

State of the Art of High Heat Flux Cooling Technologies

The purpose of this literature review is to compare different cooling technologies currently in development in research laboratories that are competing to solve the challenge of cooling the next generation of high heat flux computer chips. Today, most development efforts are focused on three technologies: liquid cooling in copper or silicon micro-geometry heat dissipation elements, impingement of liquid jets directly on the silicon surface of the chip, and two-phase flow boiling in copper heat dissipation elements or plates with numerous microchannels. The principal challenge is to dissipate the high heat fluxes (current objective is 300 W/cm2) while maintaining the chip temperature below the targeted temperature of 85°C, while of second importance is how to predict the heat transfer coefficients and pressure drops of the cooling process. In this study, the state of the art of these three technologies from recent experimental articles (since 2003) is analyzed and a comparison of the respective merits and drawbacks of each technology is presented. The conclusion is that two-phase flow boiling in microchannels is the most promising approach; impingement cooling also has good prospects but single-phase liquid cooling is probably only a short-term solution. As an example of the state of the first technology, the Heat and Mass Transfer Laboratory at Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne has already achieved 200 W/cm2 of cooling in a first prototype, with a low pumping power, good temperature uniformity, and at the required maximal operating temperature.


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