PI: Professor Tianhong Cui

Co-PI: Professor Terry Simon

High demand for the fast processing speed and powerful computational capability of electronics has yielded remarkable progress of integrated circuits due to the revolution of micro and nano fabrication technologies. However, advanced integrated circuits generate enormous heat that severely degrades the functionality of electronic devices. As a result, there is a strong need for powerful electronics cooling systems. We are exploring and developing novel cooling technologies for electronic devices primarily based on micro/nano technologies and various actuators. Currently, we are working on MACE (Microtechnologies for Air-Cooled Exchangers) project under the DARPA.

The primary goal of this project is to develop a novel active air-cooled heat sink technology that can significantly reduce thermal resistance and total electrical power consumption compared to a state-of-the-art air-cooled exchanger system. The main approach is a modular system that combines heat pipe technology, piezoelectrically driven flow agitators and synthetic jets, and surface enhancement by micro/nano technology. The preliminary test results performed in a single channel test section demonstrated the remarkably enhanced cooling performance of the active cooling system with a 4-fold reduction in thermal resistance compared to a state-of-art fan cooling system.


Fig. 1 Active air-cooled heat sink system

Fig. 2 Piezoelectric translational flow agitator

Fig. 3 Piezoelectric synthetic jet

Fig. 4 Micro pin-finned structure on the heat sink fin surface