It is getting too hot…

Friday, April 20th, 2012 by Roberto Saracco

The relentless progress of electronics (Moore’s law) has increased the number of transistor per chip. Every single one of them needs power and this has resulted in a tremendous increase in power requirement.

Jonathan Koomey observation (law...)

This energy has to be dissipated somehow and that cost money. As an example Telecom Italia use about 2 TWh per year of energy and over 40% of it is used to cool equipment.

Scientists have managed to decrease the need for energy per transistor, as it is shown in the graph above. You can see that the overall efficiency per chip has progressed exponentially, similarly to the Moore’s law, but still the huge number of transistors per chip has lead to tremendous use of energy and therefore of dissipation.

This is why the news of a new technology for heat dissipation in chips is so interesting. One of the hurdles hampering the continuous validity of the Moore’s law is heat dissipation

Researchers at the North Carolina State University have discovered  a more efficient and less costly way to cool chips. They use a copper-graphite composite glued to chip surface with an indium-graphene film. This becomes a heat spreader that efficiently increases the dissipation surface thus providing for a better cooling of the chip.

The “better” can be quantified in a 25% gain in dissipation efficiency. A significant help to those scientists working on cramming more and more transistors in a chip!


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