Browse Prior Art Database

Method for Dissipating a Chips Thermal Load

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000015338D
Original Publication Date: 2002-May-08
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Jun-20
Document File: 1 page(s) / 38K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

Disclosed is a method for dissipating a semiconductor chips thermal load utilizing the refrigeration effect provided by the adiabatic decompression of a gas . As circuit densities and clock speeds increase, integrated circuits are generating problematic amounts of heat which must be removed to prevent the chip from being destroyed. At present, the common method for dealing with this is to place a large metal heat sink on the chip and use sometimes noisy fans to move air past the heatsink to carry the heat away. Thermoelectric devices have been used but they still need a heat sink to carry the exhaust heat away from the system. Other systems have used chilled water (old system 370s) or Freon refrigeration (current zSeries machines). Using heatsinks is cheap but not very efficient which limits the number of CPUs that can be placed in a given area. Chilled water and Freon are very efficient at removing heat but are expensive and cumbersome. In the case of chilled water, a leak in the plumbing gets very messy and has the potential to be destructive to the electronics. The limitations on CPU density that these thermal problems have created are a problem for those who need to use large numbers of CPUs in a small area. (small being relative). This would include ISPs, and companies running server farms for web hosting, application hosting, etc. This is also an issue for customers running large scientific/engineering/life sciences clusters used for solving massively complex problems.

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Method for Dissipating a Chips Thermal Load

Disclosed is a method for dissipating a semiconductor chips thermal load utilizing the refrigeration effect provided by the adiabatic decompression of a gas . As circuit densities and clock speeds increase, integrated circuits are generating problematic amounts of heat which must be removed to prevent the chip from being destroyed. At present, the common method for dealing with this is to place a large metal heat sink on the chip and use sometimes noisy fans to move air past the heatsink to carry the heat away. Thermoelectric devices have been used but they still need a heat sink to carry the exhaust heat away from the system. Other systems have used chilled water (old system 370s) or Freon refrigeration (current zSeries machines). Using heatsinks is cheap but not very efficient which limits the number of CPUs that can be placed in a given area. Chilled water and Freon are very efficient at removing heat but are expensive and cumbersome. In the case of chilled water, a leak in the plumbing gets very messy and has the potential to be destructive to the electronics. The limitations on CPU density that these thermal problems have created are a problem for those who need to use large numbers of CPUs in a small area. (small being relative). This would include ISPs, and companies running server farms for web hosting, application hosting, etc. This is also an issue for customers running large scientific/engineering/life sciences clusters used for solving massively complex problems.

This disclosure documents the use of decompressing gas, preferably air, to absorb the thermal load from the chip and carry the waste heat away. Whi...