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Ion pump takes cooling to the microchip level


It may be a bit harder to show off than elaborate liquid cooling rigs, but researchers at the University of Washington have taken a big step towards keeping future computers cooler, if a bit less badass-looking. They've created a tiny ion pump that can fit directly on a computer chip, keeping it from overheating by using an electrical field to accelerate air to speeds previously only possible with traditional (and much larger) fans. In prototype form, the pump was able to cool down an actively heated surface using only 0.6 watts of power. While the tests have been successful so far, the researchers are still trying to determine the best way to make make devices that are both durable and high-performing. The most promising route so far? Why nanotechnology, of course -- the magic cure to all of mankind's problems.

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