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IBM Cools 3-D Processors with H2O  - IBM Cools 3-D Processors with H2O
Wed Sep 10, 2008 | 9:43P| PermaLink
"IBM scientists unveiled a powerful and efficient technique to cool 3-D chip stacks with water. In collaboration with the Fraunhofer Institute in Berlin, they demonstrated a prototype that integrates the cooling system into a 3-D chip by piping water directly between each layer in the stack.
These so-called 3-D chip stacks—in which chips and memory devices that traditionally sit side-by-side on a silicon wafer are layered on top of one another—presents one of the most promising approaches to enhancing chip performance beyond its predicted limits.
This follows IBM's leadership in advancing chip-stacking technology in a manufacturing environment announced one year ago, which drastically shortens the distance that information needs to travel on a chip to just 1/1000th of that on 2-D chips and allows the addition of up to 100 times more channels, or pathways, for that information to flow. Using the superior thermophysical qualities of water, scientists were able to demonstrate a cooling performance of up to 180 W/cm2 per layer for a stack with a typical footprint of 4 cm2. "This truly constitutes a breakthrough. With classic backside cooling, the stacking of two or more high-power density logic layers would be impossible," states Bruno Michel, manager of the chip cooling research efforts at the IBM Zurich Lab.
To assemble the individual layers, Brunschwiler with colleagues from the Fraunhofer Institute developed a sophisticated thin-film soldering technique. Using this technique, scientists achieved the high quality, precision and robustness needed to ensure excellent thermal contacts as well as electrical contacts without shorts. In the final setup, the assembled stack is placed in a silicon cooling container resembling a miniature basin. The water is pumped into the container from one side and flows between the individual chip layers before exiting at the other side. Using simulations, scientists extrapolated the experimental results of their test vehicle to a 4-cm2 chip stack and achieved a cooling performance of 180 W/cm2."

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