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Feb 22nd, 2013
Darpa wants Teeny-Tiny fluids to cool down next-gen microchips
The Pentagon’s mad scientists have concocted a plan to keep the miniature; stacked brains of tomorrow’s advanced computers cool enough to power next-gen technological advances.
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It involves the world’s smallest bath.

Advanced new microchips are now stacking up like pancakes. This new turn toward stacked chips promises huge improvements in computing power for everything from advanced cameras to new smartphones. But the Pentagon is concerned about these new stacks of chips being too powerful — that is, they risk melting down because they get too hot.

Darpa’s plan: embed them with tiny fluid channels to circulate really, really small blobs of water. This month, the agency released a solicitation asking the industry to come up with designs for “microfluidic” cooling systems which can be embedded into microchip stacks, called ICECool. The specifics are painfully complicated, but the project would involve using tiny “microgaps” between “chips in three-dimensional stacks” (more on this in a minute) that can be used to pump “naturally-circulating flows as well as directed liquid jets” to keep the microchips cool.

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