Researchers at CIC nanoGUNE, Spain and the University of Cambridge have developed a new technology that can be used to cool microelectronic components. The new cooling system relies upon the phenomena of magnetic cooling but this implementation doesn’t need strong magnetic fields to be used (not usually good for electronic components) it works on a much more local and controlled area using a similar but different effect.
The new cooling technology relies upon materials that change their temperature when a magnetic field is applied to them. However instead of using any magnetic fields the team discovered that straining and relaxing a specially formulated film created a similar magnetocaloric effect upon the cooling target. This works in a much more localised and targeted way so the neighbouring components aren’t affected.
Dr. Luis Hueso, a nanoGUNE researcher, describes how the new cooling effect works; “By straining the material and then relaxing it an effect similar to that of a magnetic field is created, thus inducing the magnetocaloric effect responsible for cooling.” He describes the benefits of the new technique “This new technology enables us to have a more local and more controlled cooling method, without interfering with the other units in the device, and in line with the trend in the miniaturization of technological devices.”
Solution is aimed at electronic chips, computer memory and microelectronics
The film material used is only 20nm thick and contains lanthanum, calcium, manganese and oxygen. Dr Huesco believes that the new material and cooling technique will be very useful in real-world technology “we have come up with the right material and an effective technique for cooling electronic chips, computer memories and all these types of applications in microelectronics.”
Furthermore the research team think investing in this new cooling technique could be very cost effective to companies that run large dataservers. These systems create a lot of heat and it costs a lot to keep them cool and running efficiently. “If we could cool them down properly, they would be more effective and could work faster,” explained Hueso.