As powered electrical and mechanical devices have continued to be miniaturized, it has become increasingly important to limit the temperature rises of vulnerable components such as integrated circuits, small mechanical elements and light sources. The conventional passive heat transfer method most commonly used is to simply put a set of fins in the heat transfer path from the source of heat (e.g., a packaged device) to a region where a gaseous or liquid coolant contacts the fins, becomes heated, and then is allowed to contact or mix with a large volume of gas or liquid that is cooler.
These finned heat transfer approaches have limits, and therefore researchers at UC Berkeley have developed a means of augmenting this conventional passive heat transfer with supplementary actively powered mechanisms. This novel approach increases the rate of contact and mixing -- and thereby, the rate of heat removal. The approach is appropriately sized (i.e., miniature), energy efficient, quiet, inexpensive, and has a long lifetime.
Supplementary cooling of integrated circuits, light sources and small mechanical devices