IBM Cools 3-D Chips with Water

June 6, 2008 | Source:

Researchers at IBM and the Fraunhofer Institute in Berlin have demonstrated a prototype that integrates a water-based cooling system into 3-D chips by piping water directly between each layer in the stack.

The method is one of the most promising approaches to enhancing chip performance in “3-D chip stacks” beyond its predicted limits, which are partially due to heat buildup.

Chip-stacking technology shortens the distance information on a chip needs to travel by 1000 times, and allows for the addition of up to 100 times more channels, or pathways, for that information to flow compared to 2-D chips, but it would have an aggregated heat dissipation of close to 1 kilowatt for an area of 4 square centimeters and a thickness of about 1 millimeter.

The development supports IBM’s plans to pipe heated water from data centers into the building’s cooling and heating systems.