industry news
Subscribe Now

Imec Unveils Cost-Effective Cooling Solution for High Performance Chips

3D-printed impingement cooling solution exceeds state-of-the-art air-cooled solutions

LEUVEN, May 29, 2018 — Imec, the world-leading research and innovation hub in nano-electronics and digital technology, today announced that it has demonstrated for the first time a low-cost impingement-based solution for cooling chips at package level.  This achievement is an important innovation to tackle the ever-increasing cooling demands of high-performance 3D chips and systems.

High performance electronic systems are coping with increasing cooling demands. Conventional solutions realize cooling through combining heat exchangers that are bonded to heat spreaders that are then attached to the chip backside. These are all interconnected with thermal interface materials (TIM) that create a fixed thermal resistance that can’t be overcome by introducing more efficient cooling solutions. Direct cooling on the chip backside would be more efficient, but current direct cooling microchannel solutions create a temperature gradient across the chip surface.

The ideal chip cooler is an impingement-based cooler with distributed coolant outlets. It puts the cooling liquid in direct contact with the chip and sprays the liquid perpendicular to the chip surface. This ensures that all the liquid on the chip surface has the same temperature and reduces the contact time between coolant and chip. However, current impingement coolers have the drawback that they are silicon-based and thus expensive, or that their nozzle diameters and use processes are not compatible with the chip packaging process flow.

Imec has developed a new impingement chip cooler that uses polymers instead of silicon, to achieve a cost-effective fabrication. Moreover, imec’s solution features nozzles of only 300µm, made by high-resolution stereolithography 3D printing. The use of 3D printing allows customization of the nozzle pattern design to match the heat map and the fabrication of complex internal structures. Moreover, 3D printing allows to efficiently print the whole structure in one part, reducing production cost and time.

“Our new impingement chip cooler is actually a 3D printed ‘showerhead’ that sprays the cooling liquid directly onto the bare chip,” clarifies Herman Oprins, senior engineer at imec. “3D prototyping has improved in resolution, making it available for realizing microfluidic systems such as our chip cooler. 3D printing enables an application-specific design, instead of using a standard design.”

Imec’s impingement cooler achieves a high cooling efficiency, with a chip temperature increase of less than 15°C per 100W/cm2 for a coolant flow rate of 1 l/min. Moreover, it features a pressure drop as low as 0.3 bar, thanks to the smart internal cooler design. It outperforms benchmark conventional cooling solutions in which the thermal interface materials alone already cause a 20-50°C temperature increase. Next to its high efficiency and its cost-effective fabrication, imec’s cooling solution is much smaller compared to existing solutions, matching the footprint of the chip package enabling chip package reduction and more efficient cooling.

About imec

Imec is the world-leading research and innovation hub in nano-electronics and digital technologies. The combination of our widely acclaimed leadership in microchip technology and profound software and ICT expertise is what makes us unique. By leveraging our world-class infrastructure and local and global ecosystem of partners across a multitude of industries, we create groundbreaking innovation in application domains such as healthcare, smart cities and mobility, logistics and manufacturing, and energy.
As a trusted partner for companies, start-ups and universities we bring together close to 4,000 brilliant minds from over 85 nationalities. Imec is headquartered in Leuven, Belgium and also has distributed R&D groups at a number of Flemish universities, in the Netherlands, Taiwan, USA, China, and offices in India and Japan. In 2017, imec’s revenue (P&L) totaled 546 million euro. Further information on imec can be found at www.imec-int.com.

Leave a Reply

featured blogs
Jul 2, 2020
Using the bitwise operators in general, and employing them to perform masking operations in particular, can be extremely efficacious....
Jul 2, 2020
In June, we continued to upgrade several key pieces of content across the website, including more interactive product explorers on several pages and a homepage refresh. We also made a significant update to our product pages which allows logged-in users to see customer-specifi...
Jun 26, 2020
[From the last episode: We looked at the common machine-vision application and its primary .] We'€™ve seen that vision is a common AI these days, and we'€™ve also talked about the fact that our current spate of neural networks are not neuromorphic '€“ that is, they'€™...

Featured Video

Product Update: New DesignWare® IOs

Sponsored by Synopsys

Join Faisal Goriawalla for an update on Synopsys’ DesignWare GPIO and Specialty IO IP, including LVDS, I2C and I3C. The IO portfolio is silicon-proven across a range of foundries and process nodes, and is ready for your next SoC design.

Click here for more information about DesignWare Embedded Memories, Logic Libraries and Test Videos

Featured Paper

Cryptography: A Closer Look at the Algorithms

Sponsored by Maxim Integrated

Get more details about how cryptographic algorithms are implemented and how an asymmetric key algorithm can be used to exchange a shared private key.

Click here to download the whitepaper

Featured Chalk Talk

Evaluation and Development Kits

Sponsored by Samtec

With signal integrity becoming increasingly challenging in today’s designs, interconnect is taking on a key role. In order to see how a particular interconnect solution will perform in our design, we really need hands-on evaluation of the technology. In this episode of Chalk Talk, Amelia Dalton chats with Matthew Burns of Samtec about evaluation and development kits for high-speed interconnect solutions.

More information about Samtec Evaluation and Development Kits