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MM Blog: Enhanced Electronic Performance From Lockheed And DARPA

A look at how Lockheed Martin’s research into DARPA’s ICECool could result in enhanced power and performance of electronics, radars and lasers.

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A team of Lockheed Martin engineers is working on a solution to meet the goal of DARPA’s Inter/Intra Chip Enhanced Cooling program, or ICECool. The goal is to enhance the performance of RF MMIC power amplifiers and embedded high performance computing systems through chip-level heat removal techniques. Basically, they’re developing a way to cool high-powered microchips from the inside using microscopic drops of water.

According to John Ditri with Lockheed Martin’s ICECool effort, right now, we're limited in the power we can put into microchips. One of the biggest challenges is managing the heat. If you can manage the heat, you can use fewer chips and that means using less material, which results in cost savings, as well as reduced system size and weight. If you manage the heat and use the same number of chips, you'll get even greater performance in your system.

So far, Lockheed has carried out two phases in the development of microfluidic cooling. The team demonstrated the effectiveness of its microfluidic cooling approach which resulted in a four-time reduction in thermal resistance in Phase I testing and a corresponding Phase II testing showed a six-time increase in RF output power when compared to conventional cooling techniques.


Do you think this research will bring us enhanced power and performance to electronics? How could this technique be used to advance our technology?

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