IBM researchers to design liquid cooling into microchip packaging

ARLINGTON, Va.-Microelectronics experts at IBM Corp. in Armonk, N.Y., are taking the first steps in a U.S. military research program in electronics thermal management that seeks to design convective or evaporative microfluidic cooling directly into microchip designs and packaging.

IBM won a $5 million contract in April from the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in Arlington, Va., for the Intrachip/Interchip Enhanced Cooling (ICECool) Fundamentals program, which is the first step in the DARPA ICECool program, and will develop the fundamental building blocks of intra- and interchip evaporative microfluidic cooling.

IBM microelectronics experts will explore revolutionary new thermal-management technologies for military electronics to help designers make substantial reductions in size, weight, and power (SWaP) consumption.

DARPA scientists are asking IBM to find ways to shrink chip-cooling technologies such that they can build cooling into the chip itself. The goal is to close the gap between chip and chip-cooling technologies for military electronics like computers, RF transceivers, and solid-state lasers.

IBM leads the first of what eventually may involve several industry teams working on different substrates and on different thermal-management approaches. Resulting technologies are expected to feed into future efforts within the ICECool thermal management program.

While IBM researchers are handling the first phase of the DARPA ICECool program, which is to develop fundamental technological building blocks for on-chip, built-in liquid cooling, DARPA released a formal solicitation last February for the next ICECool program phase.

The February solicitation involves the ICECool Applications program, which seeks to demonstrate advanced electronics cooling techniques for high-performance embedded computing (HPEC) and RF monolithic microwave integrated circuit (MMIC) power amplifiers with convective or evaporative microfluidic cooling built directly into the electronic devices and packaging.

IBM is helping DARPA design liquid cooling into high-performance computer and RF chips.
IBM is helping DARPA design liquid cooling into high-performance computer and RF chips.

The first ICECool Fundamentals solicitation went out to industry in June 2012, and IBM is the first company involved in this phase. No contracts for the next phase, ICECool Applications, have been awarded yet.

In the first phase of the DARPA ICECool program, IBM researchers will try to alleviate cooling limitations of advanced military electronics by integrating thermal management techniques into the chip layout, substrate structure, and package design, not only to shrink on-chip cooling, but also to enhance overall electronics performance.

Essentially, IBM experts are seeking to make cooling just as important as any other aspect of chip design, and use embedded thermal management to enhance the performance of military electronics. Integrating chips with convective or evaporative microfluidic cooling, DARPA officials say, has the potential to speed the evolution of advanced chip integration.

Specifically, IBM researchers will try to demonstrate chip-level heat removal in excess of 1 kilowatt per square centimeter heat flux, as well as 1 kilowatt per cubic centimeter heat density with thermal control of local submillimeter hot spots with heat flux exceeding 5 kilowatts per square centimeter.

IBM will develop microfabrication techniques over a period spanning two or three years to implement thermal interconnects and evaporative microfluidics in several microchanneled semiconductor chips.

DARPA also may use IBM to model intrachip cooling with evaporative flows in microchannel flow loops-either within the chips themselves, or in the microgaps between chips in 3D chip stacks.

One fundamental problem that the ICECool program seeks to solve is the large size and weight of cooling subsystems. Ever-smaller chip geometries generate increasing amounts of heat, and the ability to cool electronics is moving more slowly than the ability to shrink chip densities.

This causes some advanced electronics to perform well below the inherent electrical limits of the device technology. Integrating cooling directly into the chip could transform electronic systems architectures and overcome the SWaP bottleneck in advanced electronics, DARPA officials say.

The ICECool program will complement other DARPA thermal-management initiatives, such as the Thermal Ground Plane (TGP) program to develop modern high-performance heat spreaders to replace the copper alloy spreaders in conventional systems; the Microtechnologies for Air Cooled Exchangers (MACE) program to develop enhanced heatsinks that reduce the thermal resistance and power requirements for cooling fans; and the Active Cooling Module (ACM) program to develop miniature, active, high-efficiency refrigeration systems based on thermoelectric or vapor-compression technologies.

FOR MORE INFORMATION contact the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Microelectronics Technology Office (MTO) online at www.darpa.mil/Our_Work/MTO, and IBM at www.ibm.com.


Easily post a comment below using your Linkedin, Twitter, Google or Facebook account.


The Innovation That Matters™ Quiz

Innovation is one of the key drivers in the Defense industry. View this short video of Leon Woo, VP of Engineering at Mercury Systems, on the role of innovation. Then, answer 3 simple questions correctly to be entered into a drawing to win an Eddie Bauer fleece jacket!

CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR TWO MOST RECENT WINNERS. "Nick from SPARWAR" and "Bridget from AOC."


Military & Aerospace Photos

Related Products

RR2P Removable Canister RAID System

Transportable data storage for mobile field use aboard planes, ships and ground transport. 2U, du...

Sensors Unlimited GA1280JSX High Resolution, Mil-Rugged, Extended High Sensitivity InGaAs SWIR Camera

Manufactures a high resolution, mil-rugged, extended high-sensitivity 0.9 Mpixel InGaAs SWIR came...

M1U20xx 1U Military-Grade Computer System

The M1U20xx Military-Grade Rack Mount System is a reliable high-performance mil-spec 1U solution ...

Related Companies

Winchester Systems Inc

At its founding in 1981, Winchester Systems introduced its first 5 MB disk system for Intel development system users....

Extreme Engineering Solutions Inc (X-ES)

 Extreme Engineering Solutions, Inc. (X-ES) is a leader in the design, manufacture, and support of standard and ...

American Infrared Solutions (AIRS)

Wire News provided by   

Most Popular Articles

Webcasts

Meeting the Gen3 backplane challenge with OpenVPX and COTS

Tight Pentagon budgets mean military systems must stay in the field for longer than ever before. This doesn't mean obsolete technology, however. Today's military electronics are being upgraded constantly, an...
Sponsored by:

Digital signal processing for signals intelligence and electronic warfare

Military & Aerospace Electronics presents an expert Webcast on the design considerations for blending general-purposes processors (GPUs), general-purpose graphics processors (GPGPUs), field-programmable ...
Sponsored by:

Advantages of Intel Architecture Products and Wind River Solutions in Military & Aerospace Applications

This webinar explains the individual advantages of the Intel Architecture hardware, available for long-life supply, and the WRS software portfolio.  There are extraordinary advantages of combining such ...
Sponsored by:

social activity

All Access Sponsors


Mil & Aero Magazine

February 2014
Volume 25, Issue 2
file

Download Our Apps



iPhone

iPad

Android

Follow Us On...



Newsletters

Military & Aerospace Electronics

Weekly newsletter covering technical content, breaking news and product information
SUBSCRIBE

Defense Executive

Monthly newsletter covering business news and strategic insights for executive managers
SUBSCRIBE

Embedded Computing Report

Monthly newsletter covering news on embedded computing in aerospace, defense and industrial-rugged applications
SUBSCRIBE

Unmanned Vehicles

Monthly newsletter covering news updates for designers of unmanned vehicles
SUBSCRIBE