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Hardware Technology

New Chip-cooling Technology 167

Posted by samzenpus
from the cool-off dept.
BillOfThePecosKind writes "Researchers have demonstrated a new technology using tiny "ionic wind engines" that might dramatically improve computer chip cooling, possibly addressing a looming threat to future advances in computers and electronics. Purdue researchers funded by Intel have improved the "heat-transfer coefficient" by some 250%. I never liked water cooled systems, and this sounds promising. However I wonder how much ozone one of these things produces."
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New Chip-cooling Technology

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  • by SamP2 (1097897) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @08:37PM (#20231843)
    "I wonder how much ozone one of these things produces."

    Produces? Hey, let's make a ton of these and solve the ozone hole problem forever!
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by SoapBox17 (1020345)
      Welcome to 2004. The o-zone problem is solved. It fixes itself over time, as long as nothing is continually damaging it. Since CFCs were banned a long time ago, the o-zone hole has begun to shrink. It'll be gone in about 50 years.
      • by eggnoglatte (1047660) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @09:54PM (#20232285)
        What the heck is "o-zone"? Ozone [wikipedia.org] is a molecule, not some kind of atmospheric zone; that would be the ozone layer, i.e. the atmospheric layer with a high natural concentration of ... wait for it ... ozone.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by bigdavesmith (928732)
          Slashdot is not the proper place for a comprehensive discussion of the o-zone.

          Those of you over 18 might want to check out this clip [youtube.com] though, if you're not sure exactly what the o-zone is.
        • Numa numa [wikipedia.org].
      • CFCs and HCFCs (Score:3, Informative)

        by Enderandrew (866215)
        HCFCs still burn a hole into the ozone layer, and the full damage from released CFCs and HCFCs can take up to 50 years as it is a chain reaction. I worked on air conditioners in the military and had to become EPA certified on the stuff. I got the "Universal" license from the EPA. The biggest offender in this area is still the US government. While most civilian vehicles have newer HCFC-based air conditioners, the military does not. And not everyone has banned CFCs fully yet.

        From the Wikipedia:

        "By the ye
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by got2liv4him (966133)
          Unfortunately, they are working on banning hcfc's as well. And all civilian have been required to use hfc's since '95. (you probably just got mixed up). Europe is already talking about banning hfc's. I am interested to know what they plan on using, propane?, co2?, ammonia. How do we know that the ozone layer doesn't naturally? I mean it closed back up, and I highly doubt it was because we stopped using r-12 and r-502. Seriously, how do we know that the hole was caused by cfc's, I would think if it was and
          • but the car manufacturers are not so keen because it requires some very scary pressures. They tend not to like customers to blow up when they crash (because then the customers can't come back and buy another car)
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by mikael (484)
            Seriously, how do we know that the hole was caused by cfc's, I would think if it was and the cfc's somehow defied gravity and got up to the ozone layer there would be multiple holes?

            Because at the North and South poles, the atmosphere does not circulate very well with regards to the rest of the planet. You end up with a large Polar vortex [wikipedia.org] of cold air remaining stationary over the area, which allows the CFC to react with other chemicals in the air:

            The chemistry of the Antarctic polar vortex has create
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by scruff323 (840369)
      Actually ozone is a problem in the lower atmosphere. Ozone is very harmful to breathe and can be a problem on hot days in cities. You are talking about the ozone holes in the upper atmosphere, which is a different problem. If these things were to produce ozone (which i doubt), they would actually be harmful and not helpful as the ozone would not patch the ozone hole.
    • Considering that the trend is toward making chips with smaller transistors that operate at less voltage and thus at lower temperatures, I don't think that having a few of these ozone-emitting devices around will create a pollution problem. In fact, ozone has quite a beneficial property in correct quantities, including cancer therapy, mold or smoke eradication, even water treatment (most high end swimming pools use ozone rather than very harmful chemicals such as chlorine).

      • by kyrio (1091003)
        Ozone is poisonous to breath, stop promoting your incorrect and deadly information.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by DaveWick79 (939388)
          And you're just promoting the mostly incorrect nonsense you've heard. Yes, ozone in high quantities can be harmful. Do you even know what ozone is? It's 0^3, which is a highly unstable form of oxygen which quickly breaks down into stable 0^2 and 0^1. The 0^1 has properties which cause it to seek to bond to harmful molecules. This is what makes it useful for water treatment, air treatment, and blood treatment. Unless it is in such high quantities that it starts bonding to good molecules, it is not harm
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Rakishi (759894)

        In fact, ozone has quite a beneficial property in correct quantities, including cancer therapy, mold or smoke eradication, even water treatment (most high end swimming pools use ozone rather than very harmful chemicals such as chlorine).
        ...All except one of those involve killing living organisms. Rat poison is also damn useful but I wouldn't want it in the air or eating it.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by BobNET (119675)

          Rat poison is also damn useful but I wouldn't want it in the air or eating it.

          You would if you had a reason to prevent your blood from clotting (a stroke, for example). Coumadin is just a drug company's brand-name for warfarin, a chemical used in some rat poisons (although I wouldn't want to take the stuff intended for the rats either)...

          • by fbjon (692006)
            Warfarin will kill a human as well by bleeding you to death, if you take enough of it.
            • by ultranova (717540)

              Warfarin will kill a human as well by bleeding you to death, if you take enough of it.

              Water will kill you as well by disturbing the electrolyte balance in your blood and therefore stopping your heart if you drink too much of it. There is absolutely no substance in existence which won't kill you if misused in sufficient quantities.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by compro01 (777531)
          or eating it.

          several people do eat it on the advise of their doctor. (warfarin [wikipedia.org]). at the proper dosage, it is quite useful for preventing blood clots.
    • by markdavis (642305)
      The tiny amount it would make doesn't matter to the environment. However, when in a confined space, ozone will very effectively attack rubber and flexible plastic. My mom had an ozone generator ON LOW in her kitchen, where the computer is. I had to replace her CDROM/DVD drive in the computer 6 times before she finally believed me and turned the damn thing off. That was a year ago- not a single problem since.

      Now, if it is that effective on cdrom belts, what does it do to human tissues, like your lungs?
  • "However I wonder how much ozone one of these things produces."

    Great! We solved the global warming. Let's get cranking.
    • Not only ozoone, but also it contributes to the global warming with a 250% of efficiency.

      Great! My room will never be so hot in winter thanks to the new micro toste. I wonder if it is also a multipurpose device and I can make fried eggs on the cpu!
    • by Brad1138 (590148) *
      Currently parent is "(Score:0, Redundant)".

      That really isn't fair. If you look at the time stamp it is 1 minute behind the previous (first) post. He probably clicked reply before there were any posts and the previous post was submitted very shortly before his. If 2 or more posts are submitted more or less at the same time, the 2nd shouldn't be penalized for being a few seconds behind. If the posted time showed a 5+ minute difference then "redundant" would be justified.
  • by ZeroFactorial (1025676) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @08:39PM (#20231855)
    Cool!
    • by timeOday (582209)
      Actually this is a way for chips to give off *even more* heat. In fact it might be a good technology for hair dryers.
    • by greenguy (162630)
      I don't know why no one has done this. The ultimate way to make a chip cool:

      Name it "Fonzie."
  • ozone (Score:3, Informative)

    by TheSHAD0W (258774) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @08:44PM (#20231899) Homepage
    FWIS The "ionic wind" takes place inside a sealed chamber, no ozone would be leaking out.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by ricebowl (999467)

      FWIS The "ionic wind" takes place inside a sealed chamber, no ozone would be leaking out.

      I'm possibly being naive, and I've yet to read the featured article, but if the ionic wind is inside a sealed chamber how does it aid cooling? Surely the sealed chamber would simply grow warmer over time and become a thermal insulator?

      If I'm being dumb please don't hesitate to retort or point out the flaws in my thinking...

      • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Simple heat transfer.

        1. Heat is transferred from processor to "sealed chamber" through a contact (most likely metal) with a good heat transfer capability.
        2. Heat is then transferred to the air within the "sealed chamber" to the air current residing within the chamber.
        3. Air is replaced with cool air as hot air is transferred out of the case.

        This creates a heat pipe of sorts (though water or anti-freeze is replaced with the air, which won't harm electronics and should be quieter, since the system has n
      • Normally the bottom of the heat sink and the processor are roughly at equal temperatures (assuming you use a good thermal compound that does not have a large deltaT across it).

        Now if you put something in between the heat sink and the processor that actively forces heat flow from the processor to the heat sink, you can make the bottom of the heat sink hotter than the processor, which makes the processor cooler, and which in turn makes the heat sink more effective since it is running hotter. (Wow, that wa
        • by Tmack (593755)

          Normally the bottom of the heat sink and the processor are roughly at equal temperatures (assuming you use a good thermal compound that does not have a large deltaT across it).

          Now if you put something in between the heat sink and the processor that actively forces heat flow from the processor to the heat sink, you can make the bottom of the heat sink hotter than the processor, which makes the processor cooler, and which in turn makes the heat sink more effective since it is running hotter. (Wow, that was a nice run on sentence)

          Congrats, you just described a peltier cooler, something completely different than this "sealed chamber" theory. Basically, yes, a sealed chamber would turn into a great insulator since convection is orders of magnitude less efficient than conduction, thus heating its insides until the cpu overheats. Think sealing your case completely and turning off all fans.

          Tm

      • Re:ozone (Score:5, Informative)

        by radl33t (900691) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @10:00PM (#20232315)
        You are quite right. The AC has no idea what he is talking about. If only his grasp of "simple heat transfer" matched his arrogance. This is not a sealed chamber. The ions impart momentum to a near wall flow and destroy the boundary layer. Good mixing at the wall = good heat transfer! (The article says as much) These Purdue dudes have a lot of neat electronics cooling stuff going on. I had the pleasure of getting the whole delivery at a seminar last Fall.
      • by Surt (22457)
        A sealed chamber has an external surface. The external surface dissipates heat if it is exposed to a lower temperature environment. So imagine that the size of this sealed chamber is a cubic meter, extending out of your computer case. It distributes all that heat to a very large surface area, bringing the temperature of your cpu down to near room temperature.
    • by Tyger (126248)
      Where do you see that? The article describes how it works with fans to reduce the effect where the air closest to the chip moves the least. The ionic wind is the "last mile" of cooling, in that description. If you enclose it in something and point a fan at that, you still have the issue that the fan air doesn't move much close to the now enclosed cooling device. Not only that, it would probably make cooling worse by acting as an insulator.
    • Not unless you cool your CPU with an Ionic Breeze [sharperimage.com]!
      • I saw a homemade hack someone did to do this very thing with an "ionic breeze" from Sharper Image to cool a case. It was a near silent cooling system, which makes me wonder how different that hack was from what the Purdue students discovered.
    • The ozone is needed at high altitude to provide a shield. At low altitudes ozone is bad stuff to have around and is highly damaging.
  • Red to blue = good!
  • by John Sokol (109591) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @08:55PM (#20231977) Homepage Journal
    From Sep 17, 2006
    http://hardware.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=06/09/ 17/2134250 [slashdot.org]

    Ionic Cooling For Your Computer
    master0ne writes, "We (the folks over at InventGeek) have produced the first ionic cooling system for your high-end gaming system. This system produces absolutely no noise and in fact has no moving parts at all. While this is a proof of concept, it demonstrates that you can get the CFM you need to cool a system efficiently with no moving parts and no increase in power consumption."
    And another post
    From Jan 3, 2007
    http://hardware.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/01/ 03/1951256 [slashdot.org]

    Ionic Winds Chilling Your Computer
    Iddo Genuth writes to mention The Future of Things online magazine is reporting that Kronos Advanced Technologies in cooperation with Intel and the University of Washington claims to have developed a new type of ultra-thin, silent cooling technology for processors. The piece covers many of the cooling technologies currently available, how their new corona discharge cooler works, and a short interview with several of the key team members.
    And my reply on that one.
    http://hardware.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=21484 8&threshold=0&commentsort=0&mode=thread&cid=174537 66 [slashdot.org]

    One was using the Ionic Breeze technique to provide just a slight air flow, but it increases the efficiency of the heat sink but a large amount. Problem that they fail to mention is the heatsink really attracts dust, just like the ionic breaze, so you need to get in there with a brush quite often.

    Below is a link to many of the prototypes I built. I don't have a photo of the ionic version, but it was just the desktop unit with the large aluminum heatsinks with a plastic duct/ shield was added and a set of fine wires was run across the bottom of the large aluminum heat sinks with -6000V DC on it.
    The aluminum heat sinks were grounded.
    Here is another reply from Jonathan Walther

    Give John Sokol the credit (Score:3, Informative)
    by Jonathan Walther (676089) Alter Relationship on Wednesday January 03, @09:00PM (#17452802)
    Back in 2002 when John Sokol was designing the first, and still the most efficient silent computer, we discussed the ionic air cooling. I think it was Bill Drury who first mentioned it. We put it off as a possible future direction to go. It didn't seem like it would be nearly as productive a direction as the thermal ground technology John developed. Time has proven John right; his thermal plane and thermal ground patents will revolutionize the computer industry fairly soon now. As a director of Nisvara, I can't reveal more than that at this time. But if you want a silent computer with no moving parts and even lower power consumption than these "coronal discharge" guys are claiming, get in touch with John Sokol.
    • by Tyger (126248) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @09:02PM (#20232021)
      And if you RTFA, you'd see that this has as much in common with those past articles as a desktop fan pointed at a CPU has with a heatsink with a fan attached.
      • I did RTFA. It's just a matter of semantics.

        They are talking about a CPU with a heatsink and ionic wind cooling.

        This is more or less the same as a heatsink with an Ionic Breeze pointed at it.
        OR am I missing something?

        As far as I can see, there vague article is more or less the same as those other articles and what I had already developed and tested in 2003 or so.

         
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Repossessed (1117929)
          It looks more like they're using ionic cooling to replace the heatsink instead of replacing the fan. I have to wonder what kind of cooling you could get if you used all three though.
        • by aproposofwhat (1019098) on Wednesday August 15, 2007 @04:43AM (#20234083)
          From my reading of the article, I'd say there's a fundamental difference - the ionic wind in this case is produced at the CPU surface, eliminating the trapped layer of air that is produced by normal (laminar) flow from a fan.

          Pointing an Ionic Breeze at a heatsink will merely produce the same type of airflow as a fan, only quieter.

          Forcing the trapped layer of air at the CPU surface to move should improve the efficiency of the cooling, though a 2 1/2 times improvement seems pretty high - obviously the boundary layer is a significant insulator in this case.

          • If they are talking about a CPU acting a Anode with just a flat metal heat spreader and no heatsink
            the heatsink and fan improves cooling 100x

            I was doing a heatsink with Ionic cooling. vs a heatsink with or without a fan.

            The fan wins hand down. The Ionic was better then just a bare heatsink.
            The interest in the Ionic was that it's silent.
            I had my heatsink as the anode, with -6KV on the cathode that was a fine wire tracing the fins about 1 inch away.
            My heatsink was very large 3 inch fins, and 16 inches across.
            • by Tyger (126248)
              Again, in the article, they didn't replace the fan with the ionic breeze. The fan is still there. It moves large amounts of air, and the ionic breeze was taking the air being moved and bringing it directly in contact with the hot surface, rather than the thin insulating layer of air you get with just a fan pointed at a heatsink.

              Thus, it is, in fact, a clever new application of the technology and not just a replication of what you have done. Anybody can go to sharper image, and make the connection of "A f
              • Maybe your right, but I am not ready to concede yet.
                It's hard to say from the article exactly what there doing. I didn't catch the part about ionic and fan together.
                I would really like to see a diagram, patent, photo or anything that would provide more information about what they actually did.

                But there images seem to be a flat surface. This can not be directly against the silicon but something like a Intel's P4 square copper heat spreader.

                I don't see how ionic current could work between the fins of a heatsi
    • by brunascle (994197)
      also, this one [slashdot.org], which points to an article i also submitted a day before.
      • "Innovative Ion Trap on a Semiconductor"

        Nope, that link was something different. These using Ion's for quantum computing,

        the parent article here and those other ones, were just using the air currents generated by a high voltage electric fields in air.
        It's actually very crude technology.

    • Problem that they fail to mention is the heatsink really attracts dust, just like the ionic breaze, so you need to get in there with a brush quite often.

      Who brushes dust into the room? Surely we vacuum it up. Anyway, this is a huge problem affecting virtually all desktop computers. They start off with an optimal design, the customer runs it for a week or two and at that point they have the equivalent of a two-year old computer that SlowSteps so it won't fry itself. I would love to know the percentage
      • Ionic air flow attract dust much much faster then a heatsink and fan.
        It get as much dust in 2 weeks that a regular PC gets in 2 years!

        It also still needs a heatsink!
        • Attracting more dust and having more stick are not the same thing. Ionic air flow is more effective at cooling due to increased turbulence -- this will also decrease dust accumulation. Perhaps the opposite effects on dust accumulation of overall increase in air flow and increased turbulence cancel out. Perhaps one wins. Or the other. Meanwhile, people don't vacuum inside their desktops. Sigh.
          • No, the electric charge is put into the air and onto the dust.
            The air releases it ions into the metal, but the dust gets almost glued on there.
            It really take water to get it off, a lot more then a little air flow will be required to remove it.

            Also there really isn't that much airflow, especially when compared to a fan.
            And not much turbulence when compared to a fan also, where did anyone come up with the idea that fans have laminar flow.
            Laminar flow is very difficult to achieve.

            Also turbulence is very easy
  • New Technology? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nurb432 (527695) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @09:17PM (#20232091) Homepage Journal
    Hmm then what is this 'Ionic breeze' thing sitting beside me that is blowing air around my room with no fans or other moving parts? Or the industrial electrostatic cleaners that have been around for decades longer?

    New application of really old technology would be a bit more accurate.
    • the "anti-gravity lifter" [americanantigravity.com] on a recent mythbusters worked on this concept (makes thrust. no anti-grav)
    • Subject: New Technology
      "Hmm then what is this 'Ionic breeze' thing sitting beside me that is blowing air around my room with no fans or other moving parts?"
      That would be the thing sitting beside you , not the thing integrated into the silicon of your computer.

      To extend your non-sequiter jet planes were not new technology when they were created because paper airplanes already existed.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by pla (258480)
      Hmm then what is this 'Ionic breeze' thing sitting beside me that is blowing air around my room with no fans or other moving parts?

      Well, according to Consumer reports, according to every independant laboratory test, according to even Sharper Image itself...

      I'd have to answer "A waste of money and electricy".

      Yes, it (slowly) moves air. It just doesn't clean it effectively.
    • the industrial electrostatic cleaners that have been around for decades
      You mean the ones they put into the HVAC ducts to filter out dirt? Those go into the ducts because they can't move air (at least not efficiently). The last house I bought had one of these, it was plumbed right into the cold air return just before it entered the furnace. It definitely wasn't moving moving any air around by itself.
  • Chips are eventually going to require cryo-like gear to keep it from roasting. We're not going to have that kind of equipment in our homes so it'll be back to time-sharing to run whatever CPU chewing bloatware we're running by then.
    • by mrraven (129238)
      I for one welcome our google overmind metaverse overlords.
    • by click2005 (921437)
      Or chips will go the other way.. so small you end up putting them in everything. Clothing made of millions of nano-cpus that get power through body movement. Or keep it suspended in a liquid. Drink a glass of Intel PentiYummy (it uses fat cells for energy so it aids dieting) and get a few days of super cpu power.
    • by Enderandrew (866215) <enderandrew&gmail,com> on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @10:12PM (#20232409) Homepage Journal
      Actually most people are buying these powerful, speedy processors that underclock themselves to cut down on power and heat. Both AMD and Intel have been very mindful of power and heat consumption lately. Literally processors have more power than what we're throwing at them. Clock-speed has not been racing upwards significantly the past few years, but power consumption has been going down and efficiency going up.
  • by Omnifarious (11933) * <eric-slash AT omnifarious DOT org> on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @09:27PM (#20232141) Homepage Journal

    Does this mean now that our computers may have yet another thing that can go wrong? They might break wind.

  • The new cooling technology could be introduced in computers within three years if researchers are able to miniaturize it and make the system rugged enough, Garimella said.


    Which pretty much applies to any other technology.

  • Power (Score:5, Interesting)

    by umberto unity (1142849) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @09:36PM (#20232191)
    The problem is the power consumption on this thing. If you assume that they want to move all the air in a small region around the wire even once per second, say 10mm x 1mm x 1cm, to use the dimension quoted in TFA and nominal orders of magnitude for chip size and wire thickness, that corresponds to something ~ 10^-5 moles of air. Since Nitrogen has an ionization energy of 1402.3 kJ/mol (Wikipedia), that means if you want to move that quantity of air every second, you need at least something around 15W. That's even assuming you perfectly convert electrical energy into removing electrons from air molecules, and it's just to ionize the air, neglecting the extra energy it then takes to get the ions moving (we'll pretend the fan does all that, even though that would mean that our device isn't doing jack).

    I don't know how much energy my laptop uses, but my power adapter is 65W, so 15 seems non-negligible.
    • Your analysis assumes only the ions are moved, so the entire atmosphere being moved must be ionized.

      In fact a single ion carries an enormous number of unionized molecules with it.
      • a single ion carries an enormous number of unionized molecules with it.

        Oh. So you need unionized molecules to produce a decent amount of work then? I sure hope this new movement can overcome all the inertia preventing it. Otherwise the situation will become quite heated.
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by billster0808 (739783)
        Molecules have their own unions now? Next thing you know they'll be asking for health coverage!
    • It seems to be another solution in search of a need. I expect that this will find a niche somewhere. I just don't see the value. I have a perfectly stable, fan/air cooled, four core, 3GHz computer and I really don't hear it unless I put my ear within a foot of it. There is no "looming threat" to advances in computing technology, at least in the personal computer realm. Not so much in much of the server realm either, because companies are starting to look at their power bills.

      This article suggests thinn
  • ESD issue? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Ungrounded Lightning (62228) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @10:08PM (#20232389) Journal
    This technology looks like it might deposit a large electric charge on the surface of the chip. This will have to be dissipated, before it dissipates itself by creating an electrostatic discharge on (or capacitively coupled to) one of the chips interconnects.

    To avoid this the insulating passivation layer will probably have to be topped by an additional conductive layer. This layer, in turn, will increase the capacitive load on the interconnects and likely require additional chip power to switch them.

    I expect it will still be a big net improvement. But deploying it won't be trivial.
    • Many chips have whole planes dedicated almost entirely to power supply or ground. No new layer required, so no additional capacitance.
    • by Foktip (736679)
      Um, wouldnt this create a LOT of RF interference?
  • by SEWilco (27983) on Wednesday August 15, 2007 @12:19AM (#20233105) Journal
    Science fiction movies have been showing us for years that future computers spew fountains of sparks at the slightest disturbance. And soon they will.
  • This is on the BBC [bbc.co.uk] as well, so it actually may not be total "carbon nanotubes water to oil device" nonsense.
  • Many people are subject to large O3 doses on a regular base. In their office, sitting next to an ancient laser printer.
  • by AmiMoJo (196126) <mojoNO@SPAMworld3.net> on Wednesday August 15, 2007 @04:54AM (#20234127) Homepage
    Try running a Core 2 Quad and 8800 Ultra together - your PC will become a space heater. Nice in the winter perhaps but not good for hot summers without air conditioning. All this will do is keep the CPU a bit cooler, but the same amount of heat will be generated.
  • by Ancient_Hacker (751168) on Wednesday August 15, 2007 @07:26AM (#20234637)
    Let's think a little first:
    • Is there a problem here at all? Heatsinks cost about 50 cents wholesale. Processor heat production is going down. I do't think there's much of a problem here to be solved at all.
    • Is this a good solution for the non-problem? There are lots of cheap and tried-and-true alternatives, such as heat pipes, conduction cooling to the case, and just bigger heatsinks.
    • How well are microscopic pinpoints going to work with your typical dusty air? How much energy does it take to move all that air? A wild-butt-guess suggests not good numbers at all.
  • It is: "The device contained a positively charged wire, or anode, and negatively charged electrodes, called cathodes. The anode was positioned about 10 millimeters above the cathodes. When voltage was passed through the device, the negatively charged electrodes discharged electrons toward the positively charged anode. Along the way, the electrons collided with air molecules, producing positively charged ions, which were then attracted back toward the negatively charged electrodes, creating an "ionic wind."

    C
  • I've always wondered, could you use this technology for propulsion? Create an ion wind and push it behind you? Is it possible? Why hasn't it been done?
  • by PPH (736903)
    ... I wonder about potential ESD problems (pun intended).

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