A Tiny Wind Is Blowing - Across Computer Chips

Loraine Lawson

Most of the items I post about fall into one of three areas: storage, cooling or power. The issues reappear time and again as researchers tackle these obstacles to better and smaller electronic devices and computers. I guess that's why I'm always finding articles related to advances in this area.


Well, the researchers scored one recently in the quest for better cooling.


According to this BBC article, Purdue researchers have built a protoyte that uses an ionic enginge to cool a mock computer chip. The engine is designed to address the problem with using fans to cool computer chips - which is that sometimes, in transistor-packed chips, the molecules closest to the chip get stuck and reduce air flow, according to the report.


The engine basically creates positively charged articles and drags them toward a negatively charged wire, creating constant air movement. They call this an ionic wind and, according to the story, it provides 3.5 times the cooling rate of a conventional fan.


It could help cool powerful, but tiny, devices.


What now? Researchers must find a way to shrink their prototype. In fact, it needs to be about 100 times smaller.


The research paper on the project will be published in the Journal of Applied Physics.


While you're visiting the BBC, check out this article about a Wikipedia Scanner, a tool that automatically compares the IP address logged when someone makes an anonymous change to Wikipedia to a public database of IP addresses. In short, if someone from a major corporation or government body makes a change, this tool will show you.


The BBC first wrote about it, but neglected to mention edits - and not always factual edits - that its own staff made to entries. They've since added information about their staff's edits to the piece, but they're still experiencing a maelstrom of bad PR karma as a result of the original omission.

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