|Thar Technologies/Cooler on a Chip|
A novel way to cool microprocessors.
Dec. 2005/Jan. 2006
By Erika Jonietz
As computer chips become faster and smaller, they also get hotter, and the fans used to cool PCs and keep their chips from slowing or failing can't keep up.
To solve this problem, Thar Technologies in Pittsburgh, PA, has developed a microrefrigeration system that uses carbon dioxide to rapidly and effectively cool chips.
Thar's key innovation is a microcompressor only 1.25 centimeters by 5 centimeters by 5 centimeters that compresses gaseous carbon dioxide into a "supercritical" state, where its properties hover between those of a liquid and a gas.
The system cools the carbon dioxide through expansion and pipes it through an ultrathin heat exchanger. Just 125 micrometers thick, the exchanger sits directly on the microchip, drawing heat through the chip's packaging and cooling the electronics inside. This converts the carbon dioxide back into a gas; the gas is recirculated to the microcompressor, and the heat bleeds off by convection in a second heat exchanger.
Lalit Chordia, Thar's founder and CEO, says the system can cool chips to lower temperatures than other technologies that use water or liquid metal; these lower temperatures translate into longer chip life.
And the system is small enough to be used not only in desktop computers but also in laptops.
Thar is now working to scale up manufacturing to produce the microrefrigerators reliably and cheaply enough for the computing industry.
US patent 6,698,214 Chordia March 2, 2004
Method of refrigeration with enhanced cooling capacity and efficiency
This invention relates to a refrigeration method and processes that employ a nontoxic and environmentally benign, oil-free refrigerant in a novel vapor-compression thermodynamic cycle that includes a means for enhancing cooling capacity and efficiency. A means of controlling of the process conditions and flow of the refrigerant are provided. The refrigerant in the invention in used in a transcritical cycle.
Inventors: Chordia; Lalit (Pittsburgh, PA)
Assignee: Thar Technologies, INC (Pittsburgh, PA)
Appl. No.: 373526
Filed: February 24, 2003
1. A method for refrigeration using a vapor compression cycle comprising:
(a) obtaining a natural, oil-free refrigerant;
(b) compressing the said refrigerant;
(c) transferring heat from the refrigerant to an external environment through one or more heat exchangers;
(d) expanding the said refrigerant isentropically;
(e) transferring heat from another external environment to the refrigerant through one or more heat exchangers;
(f) connecting the above mentioned components in a closed loop;
(g) circulating said refrigerant in said loop through a cycle involving supercritical high pressure and subcritical tow pressure conditions;
(h) controlling mass flow rate of the refrigerant; and
(i) refrigerating the external environment in (e).
23. An apparatus for refrigeration using a vapor compression cycle comprising:
(a) a compressor to compress a natural, oil-free refrigerant;
(b) one or more heat exchangers for transferring heat from the refrigerant to an external environment;
(c) a turbine for isentropic expansion of the refrigerant;
(d) one or more heat exchangers for transferring heat from the refrigerant to an external environment;
(e) a closed loop for a fluid connection of the above mentioned components;
(f) means for circulating said refrigerant in said loop through a cycle involving supercritical high pressure and subcritical low pressure conditions; and
(g) means to control the mass flow rate.