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IBM develops cooler processors

New technique could enable more-efficient chips

Scientists at IBM's Zurich Research Laboratory have developed a glue-application technique used to assemble chips that will keep them running cooler, the company said.

Glues are used to bind the semiconductor packages, such as microprocessors and chipsets, with cooling elements that disperse the heat generated by today's powerful chips. However, current glues, which are embedded with microscopic particles of metal or ceramics to help transfer heat, continue to be an obstacle to efficient heat dissipation, IBM said.

Scientists at IBM's Zurich lab discovered that the problem lies in how the glue is applied. They observed that when a chip is attached to the cooling element of a semiconductor package, a cross formed in the glue as the microscopic particles it contains piled up. This prevents the glue from spreading evenly. They overcame this problem by creating tiny channels in the base of the heatsink that help the glue to flow properly.

The result: a thinner layer of glue that helps to disperse heat three times more efficiently, IBM said.

IBM is working to incorporate these channels into the packaging used with its chips, but did not say when it expects to start using the new glue-application technique.


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