Jumping electric charges could waft breezes of ionised air through microchips, replacing the bulky, noisy fans that cool down today’s computers…


Researchers at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana say their patent-pending technology could be built directly into a computer chip’s heat sink to provide a faster, quieter and lighter cooling system than the alternatives.



In current designs, a metallic sink absorbs the heat generated by currents in the microchip and is cooled by mechanical fans. But as engineers squeeze more functionality out of smaller chips, they are finding that the fans cannot cool down the chips fast enough or are too big for the device. “Heat is now a major factor limiting the size of laptops,” says Dan Schlitz of Purdue University.



So researchers have come up with a…



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