Cooligy's Active Microchannel Cooling System
Having a chance to test out a new cooling systems can really let you know just how accurate a manufacturers wild claims really are... take that hands-on experience away and things get a little mirky, though, when it comes to new and revolutionary tech we have to be a little more forgiving. Especially if the technology, like that of Cooligy's Active Microchannel Cooling, has just been introduced. Mix in reported cooling potential of 1000Watts per square centimeter (current processors output about 250W/cm2), and you can see why we're more than just a little interested.
What is Active Microchannel Cooling, and why has it caught our attention so quickly?
Well, Active Microchannel Cooling describes a self-contained cooling system centered around a micro-machined silicon heat collector that is fabricated much in the same way as the CPUs it is designed to cool. This isn't a silicon CPU core with heat radiating fins however.
What Cooligy have done is use standard silicon etching techniques to create a textured surface that is ideal for watercooling, albeit on a micro-scale.
Cooligy's silicon heat collector has a dense array of microchannels etched into the surface that work to transfer heat energy to a fluid which is circulated through the entire package. That heat energy is then pumped to a nearby radiator where it can be dispersed into the surrounding atmosphere with the aid of a fan, or through passive convection cooling.
If your thinking "well, that sounds just like the watercooling we've been doing for years" you're partially correct, but there are a few noticeable differences between the set up Cooligy have developed, and the enthusiasts choice of waterblock, pump and radiator. The Cooligy system uses a fully self contained fluid cycle, meaning that the liquid used to keep the silicon heat collector with all its microchannels cool, can never evaporate.
The Cooligy system also employs an innovative electrokinetic pump which is solid state, and works based on the principles that apply when a fluid passes through a negatively charged porous glass disk when a positive electric field is applied. Or in other words, as a positive electric field is applied to the fluid, hydrogen ions are produced that have the effect of pushing the water through the openings in the porous glass disk, creating flow.
The electrokinetic pump circulates a fluid through the silicon heat collector to the finned radiator and back again all without moving parts, or noise. According the company, the Electrokinetic pump is "cost-effective and highly reliable for long-term use."
Cooligy, Inc., was founded in 2002 by Ken Goodson, Tom Kenny, and Juan Santiago, all professors in Stanford University’s mechanical engineering department. Their research into noise and heat reduction in electronics systems led them to develop a unique cooling method that also makes systems run more quietly and more efficiently.
The company will begin supplying qualification systems to computer systems developers and manufacturers later this year. Prices are rumored to be around the $30 range for a system capable of cooling a 1U server or workstation processor according.
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