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US20070217147A1 - Integrated circuit coolant microchannel assembly with targeted channel configuration - Google Patents

Integrated circuit coolant microchannel assembly with targeted channel configuration Download PDF

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Publication number
US20070217147A1
US20070217147A1 US11749444 US74944407A US2007217147A1 US 20070217147 A1 US20070217147 A1 US 20070217147A1 US 11749444 US11749444 US 11749444 US 74944407 A US74944407 A US 74944407A US 2007217147 A1 US2007217147 A1 US 2007217147A1
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Prior art keywords
microchannel
assembly
microchannels
coolant
fig
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Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Abandoned
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US11749444
Inventor
Je-Young Chang
Ioan Sauciuc
Chuan Hu
Chia-Pin Chiu
Gregory Chrysler
Ravi Prasher
Rajiv Mongia
Himanshu Pokharna
Eric Distefano
Original Assignee
Je-Young Chang
Ioan Sauciuc
Chuan Hu
Chia-Pin Chiu
Chrysler Gregory M
Prasher Ravi S
Mongia Rajiv K
Himanshu Pokharna
Eric Distefano
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    • HELECTRICITY
    • H01BASIC ELECTRIC ELEMENTS
    • H01LSEMICONDUCTOR DEVICES; ELECTRIC SOLID STATE DEVICES NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • H01L23/00Details of semiconductor or other solid state devices
    • H01L23/34Arrangements for cooling, heating, ventilating or temperature compensation ; Temperature sensing arrangements
    • H01L23/46Arrangements for cooling, heating, ventilating or temperature compensation ; Temperature sensing arrangements involving the transfer of heat by flowing fluids
    • H01L23/473Arrangements for cooling, heating, ventilating or temperature compensation ; Temperature sensing arrangements involving the transfer of heat by flowing fluids by flowing liquids
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F28HEAT EXCHANGE IN GENERAL
    • F28FDETAILS OF HEAT-EXCHANGE AND HEAT-TRANSFER APPARATUS, OF GENERAL APPLICATION
    • F28F2260/00Heat exchangers or heat exchange elements having special size, e.g. microstructures
    • F28F2260/02Heat exchangers or heat exchange elements having special size, e.g. microstructures having microchannels
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F28HEAT EXCHANGE IN GENERAL
    • F28FDETAILS OF HEAT-EXCHANGE AND HEAT-TRANSFER APPARATUS, OF GENERAL APPLICATION
    • F28F3/00Plate-like or laminated elements; Assemblies of plate-like or laminated elements
    • F28F3/12Elements constructed in the shape of a hollow panel, e.g. with channels
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H01BASIC ELECTRIC ELEMENTS
    • H01LSEMICONDUCTOR DEVICES; ELECTRIC SOLID STATE DEVICES NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • H01L2924/00Indexing scheme for arrangements or methods for connecting or disconnecting semiconductor or solid-state bodies as covered by H01L24/00
    • H01L2924/0001Technical content checked by a classifier
    • H01L2924/0002Not covered by any one of groups H01L24/00, H01L24/00 and H01L2224/00

Abstract

A microchannel structure has microchannels formed therein. The microchannels are to transport a coolant and to be proximate to an integrated circuit to transfer heat from the integrated circuit to the coolant. At least one of the microchannels has a length extent and has a first section at a first location along the length extent and a second section at a second location along the length extent. The first section of the microchannel has a first aspect ratio and the second section is divided into at least two sub-channels. Each sub-channel has a respective second aspect ratio that is greater than the first aspect ratio.

Description

    BACKGROUND
  • [0001]
    As microprocessors advance in complexity and operating rate, the heat generated in microprocessors during operation increases and the demands on cooling systems for microprocessors also escalate. A particular problem is presented by so-called “hotspots” at which circuit elements at a localized zone on the microprocessor die raise the temperature in the zone above the average temperature on the die. Thus it may not be sufficient to keep the average temperature of the die below a target level, as excessive heating at hotspots may result in localized device malfunctions even while the overall cooling target is met. This issue may be applicable to proposed cooling systems in which a coolant such as water is circulated through narrow channels (known as “microchannels”) which are close to or formed in the die.
  • [0002]
    Another issue that may be encountered in microchannel cooling systems is the total pressure drop experienced by the coolant through its circulation path. The higher the pressure drop, the greater the demands on the pump that circulates the coolant. If higher pumping capacity is required, it may be necessary to include a larger and/or more expensive and/or less reliable pump. Pump size may be especially critical, since space may be at a premium, as is the case in notebook computers and other portable computer systems.
  • [0003]
    Still another issue that may be encountered in microchannel cooling systems is potential difficulty in connecting tubes for the coolant path to the potentially delicate cover of a microchannel assembly.
  • [0004]
    Yet another issue relates to fabricating microchannels that have a high aspect ratio (ratio of height to width). Generally speaking, higher aspect ratios in microchannels provide higher heat transfer rates and lower pressure drops. However, the production processes that may be employed in accordance with known practices to form high-aspect-ratio microchannels may be more expensive than other production processes that produce microchannels having smaller aspect ratios.
  • [0005]
    Another issue is how to reduce pressure drop by shortening the flow length without changing the geometry of the channels (i.e., to keep parallel flow geometry channels). This may allow for improved manufacturability.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0006]
    FIG. 1 is a schematic side cross-sectional view of a system.
  • [0007]
    FIG. 2 is a schematic view taken in horizontal cross-section of a microchannel assembly according to some embodiments.
  • [0008]
    FIG. 3 is a view similar to FIG. 2 of a microchannel assembly according to some other embodiments.
  • [0009]
    FIG. 3A is a view similar to FIGS. 2 and 3 of a microchannel assembly according to other embodiments.
  • [0010]
    FIG. 4 is a schematic side cross-sectional view of a system according to still other embodiments.
  • [0011]
    FIG. 5 is a view similar to FIG. 4 of a system according to other embodiments.
  • [0012]
    FIG. 6 is a schematic side cross-sectional view of a microchannel assembly according to further embodiments.
  • [0013]
    FIG. 7 is a schematic side cross-sectional view showing two members from which a microchannel assembly may be constructed in accordance with some embodiments.
  • [0014]
    FIG. 8 is a schematic side cross-sectional view showing the microchannel assembly constructed from the members shown in FIG. 7.
  • [0015]
    FIG. 9 is a schematic side cross-sectional view showing two members from which a microchannel assembly may be constructed in accordance with some other embodiments.
  • [0016]
    FIG. 10 is a schematic side cross-sectional view showing the microchannel assembly constructed from the members shown in FIG. 9.
  • [0017]
    FIG. 11 is a schematic plan view of a microchannel assembly according to still further embodiments.
  • [0018]
    FIG. 12 is a schematic vertical sectional view taken along line XII-XII in FIG. 1.
  • [0019]
    FIG. 13 is view similar to FIG. 12, showing an alternative embodiment.
  • [0020]
    FIG. 14 is a schematic vertical sectional view taken along line XIV-XIV in FIG. 11.
  • [0021]
    FIG. 15 is a block diagram showing a die with additional components of a cooling system according to some embodiments.
  • [0022]
    FIG. 16 is a block diagram of a computer system according to some embodiments that includes an example of an integrated circuit die associated with a cooling system as in one or more of FIGS. 2-14.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • [0023]
    FIG. 1 is a schematic side cross-sectional view of a system 100 including an Integrated Circuit (IC) 110. The IC 110 may be associated with, for example, an INTEL®PENTIUM IV processor. To help remove heat generated by the IC 110, a liquid coolant (not separately shown) may be circulated through a microchannel cold plate 120. The microchannel cold plate 120 may be located proximate to the IC 110 to facilitate the removal of heat from the system 100. The microchannel cold plate 120 may, for example, be thermally coupled to the IC 110 by a thermal interface material (TIM) 130. (In some cases, the TIM 130 may be omitted and the microchannel cold plate 120 may be directly thermally coupled to the IC 110. In some cases a rear side of the IC 110 may be thinned to reduce thermal resistance between the IC 110 and the microchannel cold plate 120, which may be coupled to the rear side of the IC 110.) Heat may be transferred from the IC 110 to the coolant, which may then leave the system 100. For example, the coolant may exit from the microchannel cold plate 120 via an outlet port 140 and may be circulated to a heat exchanger (not shown) and then to a pump (not shown). The heat exchanger may for example include a length of tube with heat-conductive fins (not shown) mounted thereon and a fan (not shown) to direct air through the fins. Heat transferred to the coolant in the microchannel cold plate 120 may be dissipated at the heat exchanger. After passing through the heat exchanger and the pump, the coolant may flow back to the microchannel cold plate 120 via an inlet port 150.
  • [0024]
    The coolant may be water, or a liquid antifreeze compound that has a lower freezing point than water, or an aqueous solution of such a compound.
  • [0025]
    FIG. 2 is a schematic view taken in horizontal cross-section of a microchannel assembly 200 according to some embodiments. The microchannel assembly 200 may be employed as a microchannel cold plate in a system such as that shown in FIG. 1. The microchannel assembly may have microchannels 202-1, 202-2, 202-3, 202-4, 202-5 and 202-6 formed therein, as well as other microchannels which are shown although not associated with reference numerals. (The number of microchannels in the microchannel assembly may be more or fewer than the number illustrated in FIG. 2. Also, the drawing is not necessarily to scale. It will be appreciated by those who are skilled in the art that an inlet plenum may be provided upstream from the microchannels and an outlet plenum may be provided downstream from the microchannels, in the embodiment of FIG. 2 and in other embodiments, although these plenums are not shown, in some cases, so as to simplify the drawings.) The microchannels are defined, in part, by side walls including those indicated by reference numerals 204-1, 204-2, 204-3, 204-4 and 204-5. At least some of the side walls separate adjacent microchannels from each other. It will be appreciated that each microchannel has a length extent which corresponds to a direction in which coolant flows through the microchannel.
  • [0026]
    The ovals 206, 208 shown in FIG. 2 are indicative of the loci of hotspots in an IC (not shown in FIG. 2) to which the microchannel assembly 200 may be coupled to cool the IC. In accordance with some embodiments, microchannels located on or near the hotspots may be divided into sub-channels at the loci of the hotspots. Such microchannels, including for example microchannel 202-6, may have a first, undivided section 210 at one location along the length extent of the microchannel, and a second, divided section 212 at another location along the length extent of the microchannel. The divided section 212 may include dividing walls 214 (e.g., three dividing walls in the example illustrated, to define four sub-channels) to separate the sub-channels from each other to define the sub-channels along a relatively short portion of the microchannel at or near the locus of the hotspot. It will be noted that the dividing walls are oriented parallel to the length extent of the microchannels in which they are provided. The dividing walls may extend normal to the floor (not shown) of the microchannels.
  • [0027]
    The microchannels exhibit a first aspect ratio in their undivided portions. The aspect ratio is defined as the ratio of height to width, where the height is the vertical dimension and the width is the horizontal dimension that is transverse to the direction of coolant flow. (As a matter of convention the vertical direction will be taken to be the direction from the microchannel assembly to the IC die which it cools.) It will be understood that the sub-channels share the same height as the undivided portions of the microchannels, but have a much narrower width, and therefore the sub-channels have a much greater aspect ratio than the undivided portions of the microchannels. Because of the greater aspect ratios of the sub-channels, the divided portions of the microchannels provide substantially greater heat transfer capability than the undivided portions, thereby providing targeted improvements in cooling ability at the hotspots. There may be an increased pressure drop at the divided portions of the microchannels, but since the divided portions run for only a relatively short distance along the microchannels, the total pressure drop caused by the dividing of the microchannels may be rather small, so that the targeted dividing of the microchannels may lead to an improved trade-off between heat transfer capability and pressure drop. The use of targeted division of the microchannels may satisfy cooling requirements while allowing use of a relatively reliable centrifugal pump rather than a higher capacity but less reliable positive displacement pump. As an alternative to either of these types of pump, an electrokinetic pump may be employed. With any type of pump, the relatively small pressure drop associated with the targeted division of microchannels may allow for savings in terms of the power requirements for the pump and/or the size and capacity of the pump.
  • [0028]
    The number of sub-channels into which a microchannel is divided may be more or fewer than the four sub-channels shown in the exemplary embodiment of FIG. 2, and the number of sub-channels may vary from microchannel to microchannel. The microchannels need not be straight. Exemplary dimensions of the microchannels (in the undivided sections) may be 150 microns wide by 300 microns high, although these dimensions may be varied as appropriate. The microchannels may be formed in a conventional material, such as silicon or copper, and by a conventional process, such as dry etching. Although not shown in the drawings, the microchannel assembly 200 may also include, in accordance with conventional practices, an inlet reservoir or manifold at one end of the microchannels and an outlet reservoir or manifold at the other end of the microchannels.
  • [0029]
    FIG. 3 is a view similar to FIG. 2 of a microchannel assembly 300 according to some other embodiments. The microchannel assembly 300 may be the same as the microchannel assembly 200 of FIG. 2, except that at least some of the microchannels (e.g., microchannels 302-1, 302-2) which are not subdivided and do not pass over hotspots may have a narrower width than the width exhibited at undivided portions of the microchannels (e.g., 304-1, 304-2) that pass over and are subdivided at hotspots. The provision of narrow channels that do not cool hotspots may help to balance the pressure drop among all microchannels and to allow for adequate coolant flow into the divided microchannels that cool hotspots. As in the prior example, the wider microchannels may, in their undivided sections, be 150 microns wide by 300 microns high, and the narrower microchannels may be 50 microns wide by 300 microns high. Again, the dimensions may be varied as appropriate.
  • [0030]
    FIG. 3A is a view similar to FIGS. 2 and 3 of a microchannel assembly 320 according to other embodiments. The microchannel assembly has relatively wide or sparse microchannels 322-1, 322-2, 322-3 at the locus of a cache area (indicated by dashed-line rectangle 324 and being a portion of a microprocessor which generally is not shown), which requires a relatively small cooling efficiency. The microchannels 322 are divided into relatively narrow or dense sub-channels 326 at the locus of a core area (indicated by dashed-line rectangle 328), which is a part of the microprocessor that requires a greater cooling efficiency. In the particular example shown in FIG. 3A, each microchannel 322 is divided into five sub-channels 326 at the core area 328. It will be appreciated that the sub-channels 326 have a greater aspect ratio than the undivided portions of the microchannels 322. (The number of microchannels and/or the number of sub-channels may be more or fewer than the number illustrated in FIG. 3A, and the drawing is not necessarily to scale.)
  • [0031]
    Coolant (not shown) flows to the sub-channels 326 via an inlet 330 and an inlet plenum 332. The coolant flows out of the microchannels 322 via an outlet plenum 334 and an outlet 336. (It will be appreciated that the direction of coolant flow may be reversed in some embodiments.)
  • [0032]
    FIG. 4 is a schematic side cross-sectional view of a system 400 according to still other embodiments. The system 400 includes an IC 402 (e.g. a microprocessor or “CPU” die) and a microchannel assembly 404 thermally coupled to the IC 402 by a TIM 406. The microchannel assembly 404 includes a microchannel structure 408 which has microchannels (not shown in detail) formed therein. In particular, the microchannel structure 408 may define bottom and side walls of microchannels in which coolant is to be transported in proximity to the IC 402 for heat to be transferred to the coolant from the IC 402. The microchannel structure 408 may be provided in accordance with conventional practices or may be configured as in one of the microchannel assemblies illustrated in FIGS. 2 and 3. Other variations in the microchannel layout are possible.
  • [0033]
    The microchannel assembly 404 also includes a cover plate 410 positioned on (e.g., bonded to) the microchannel structure 408 to define top walls of the microchannels. The cover plate 410 may be provided in accordance with conventional practices and may have formed therein an inlet port 412 and an outlet port 414. The inlet port 412 is to allow coolant to flow into the microchannel structure 408 and the outlet port 414 is to allow coolant to flow out of the microchannel structure 408.
  • [0034]
    In addition, the microchannel assembly 404 includes a manifold plate 416 that is mounted on the cover plate 410 to facilitate connection to the microchannel assembly of tubing (not shown) for the coolant. The manifold plate 416 may, for example, be adhered to the top surface of the cover plate 410 by solder or by a sealant 418 such as epoxy or silicone. The manifold plate 416 has a lower horizontal surface 420, a left side vertical surface 422 and a right side vertical surface 424. (As used herein and in the appended claims, a “vertical surface” should be understood to include any surface that departs substantially from the horizontal; and “horizontal” refers to any direction normal to the direction from the microchannel assembly to the IC.)
  • [0035]
    The manifold plate 416 has formed therein an inlet passage 426. The inlet passage 426 provides fluid communication between a port 428 on the lower horizontal surface 420 of the manifold plate 416 and a port 430 on the left side vertical surface 422. The inlet passage 426 is a right-angle passage in that it is formed of a vertical course 432 and a horizontal course 434 that joins the vertical course 436 at a right angle. (More generally, as used herein and in the appended claims, “right-angle passage” refers to any passage that supports at least an 85° change in flow direction therethrough.) The manifold plate 416 is adhered to the cover plate 410 in such a manner that the port 428 of the manifold plate 416 is aligned with the inlet port 412 of the cover plate 410. Advantageously, the sealant 418 (or alternatively solder, as the case may be) is deployed in such a manner that coolant flows from the port 428 to the inlet port 412 without leakage.
  • [0036]
    The manifold plate 416 also has formed therein an outlet passage 436. The outlet passage 436 provides fluid communication between a port 438 on the lower horizontal surface 420 of the manifold plate 416 and a port 440 on the right side vertical surface 424. The outlet passage 436 is a right-angle passage in that it is formed of a vertical course 442 and a horizontal course 444 that joins the vertical course at a right angle. The port 438 of the manifold plate 416 is aligned with the outlet port 414 of the cover plate 410. Sealant 418 (or solder, as the case may be) may be deployed in such amanner that coolant flows from the outlet port 414 to the port 438 without leakage.
  • [0037]
    A clamp (not shown) or the like may apply a downward force to the upper surface 446 of the manifold plate 416 to retain the manifold plate 416 in position on the cover plate 410.
  • [0038]
    The manifold plate 416 may be formed of a suitable material such as copper, ceramic or polymer. Each passage 426, 436 may be formed with two drilling operations—one from the horizontal surface 420 and one from the vertical surface 422 or 424 as the case may be. It is not critical as to the order in which the two drilling operations are performed for a given one of the passages 426, 436. In some embodiments a molding process may performed as an alternative to drilling. For example, the manifold plate may have suitable fittings incorporated therein and may be formed by molding around metal tubes that constitute the right angle passages and the fittings.
  • [0039]
    The presence of the manifold plate 416 as part of the microchannel assembly 404 may facilitate connection of tubing (for coolant circulation) to the microchannel assembly 404. A tube (not shown) leading from the heat exchanger and the pump (both not shown) may be connected at the port 430 of the inlet passage 426 of the manifold plate 416.
  • [0040]
    Another tube (not shown) leading to the heat exchanger and the pump may be connected at the port 440 of the outlet passage 436 of the manifold plate 416. The manifold plate 416 may be more robust than a typical cover plate for a micro channel assembly and may reduce the possibility of breakage of the cover plate, and may help to insure reliable tube connection. In general, the presence of the manifold plate may facilitate high volume manufacturing (HVM) with regard to the system.
  • [0041]
    Moreover, the horizontal-facing ports 430, 440 of the passages 426, 436, respectively, may allow for improvements in form factor for the cooling system as a whole. Also, if it is desired to modify the configuration of the tubing and/or manner of connection of tubing to the microchannel assembly, such a modification may be accommodated by a manifold plate having a different configuration, without requiring modification of the cover plate. In other words, the manifold plate may be tailored to match the desired orientation of inlet/outlet tubes, while keeping the cover plate and microchannel structure unchanged.
  • [0042]
    FIG. 5 is a view similar to FIG. 4 of a system 500 according to other embodiments. The system 500 may include all of the constituent parts of the system 400 (FIG. 4) as described above, but in the system 500 the manifold plate 416 is integrated with the package 502 for the IC 402. In particular, the manifold plate may form the upper wall of the package 502, which may also be formed of (a) side walls 504, 506 joined to the manifold plate 416 at respective ends of the manifold plate 416, and (b) a package substrate 508 on which the IC 402 is mounted, and which is joined to the lower ends of the side walls 504, 506.
  • [0043]
    In the system 500, with the microchannel assembly effectively integrated with the IC package, it may not be necessary to apply an external retaining force to keep the manifold plate 416 in place on the cover plate 410.
  • [0044]
    FIG. 6 is a schematic side cross-sectional view of a microchannel assembly 600 according to further embodiments. The microchannel assembly 600 may include a microchannel structure 602 which is like the microchannel structure 408 described above in connection with FIG. 4. In addition, the microchannel assembly 600 may include a cover plate 604 positioned on the microchannel structure 600. The cover plate 604 may be formed in similar manner to the manifold plate 416 described above in connection with FIG. 4. In particular, the cover plate 604 may have formed therein two right-angle passages 606, 608 like the inlet passage 426 and the outlet passage 436 described above in connection with FIG. 4. Thus, in this microchannel assembly 600, the cover plate and manifold plate of previously described embodiments may effectively be integrated together to form a plate which defines upper walls of the microchannels while facilitating connection of tubing to the microchannel assembly.
  • [0045]
    In the manifold plate 416 and cover plate 604 illustrated above, the horizontal course of the outlet passage is formed at the opposite vertical surface from the horizontal course of the inlet passage. However, in alternative embodiments, the horizontal courses of both the inlet passage and the outlet passage may be formed at the same surface or at respective vertical surfaces that are oriented 900 apart from each other (i.e., at adjoining vertical surfaces).
  • [0046]
    FIG. 7 is a schematic side cross-sectional view showing two members 702, 704 from which a microchannel assembly may be constructed in accordance with some embodiments. FIG. 8 is a schematic side cross-sectional view showing the resulting microchannel assembly 802 constructed from the members 702, 704. In both drawings, the cross-section is taken transversely to the direction of flow of the coolant. Each of the members 702, 704 may be generally in the form of a conventional microchannel structure (which would be covered by a flat lid if conventional practice were to prevail). Alternatively, varying microchannel widths and/or subdividing of microchannels at hotspots, as described above, may be implemented in the members 702, 704. The members 702, 704 may be identical to each other in over-all form, except, e.g., for features such as inlet/outlet holes (not shown) in one of the members 702, 704. Thus each member may have a base 706 and parallel walls 708 each extending normally from the base 706. The walls 708 are for defining side walls of the microchannels 804 (FIG. 8) in the resulting microchannel assembly 802. Each of the walls 708 has a respective outer end 710.
  • [0047]
    In assembling the microchannel assembly 802 from the members 702, 704, the members 702, 704 may be bonded to each other by bonding the respective outer end 710 of each of the parallel walls 708 of the member 702 to the respective outer end 710 of a respective parallel wall 708 of the member 704 in a mirror-image configuration as shown in FIG. 8. In this arrangement, the walls 708 of member 702 cooperate with walls 708 of member 704 to define the side walls of the microchannels 804. In particular, in this arrangement, the walls 708 of member 702 provide half the height of the microchannels 804 while the walls 708 of member 704 provide the other half of the height of the microchannels 804.
  • [0048]
    Each of the members 702, 704 may be made of a conventional material for a microchannel structure and the gaps between the parallel walls may be formed by a conventional and relatively inexpensive process such as dry etching to provide gaps having an aspect ratio of about five, for example. It will be appreciated that the microchannels in the resulting microchannel assembly 802 have twice the aspect ratio (ten in this example) of the gaps. In this way, an advantageous process may be employed to form high aspect ratio microchannels even though the process if employed in a conventional manner could only produce lower aspect ratio microchannels. With the higher aspect ratio for the microchannels, the pressure drop for the coolant flow through the microchannels may be reduced, thereby in turn reducing the requirements for the pump employed in the cooling system. Also, the increased aspect ratio may promote an improved heat transfer rate and thus more effective cooling.
  • [0049]
    Each of the members 702, 704 may, in some embodiments, be formed as a unitary body. The bonding of one member to another may be by diffusion bonding, eutectic bonding or other suitable process.
  • [0050]
    FIG. 9 is a schematic side cross-sectional view showing two members 902, 904 from which a microchannel assembly may be constructed in accordance with some other embodiments. FIG. 10 is a schematic side cross-sectional view showing the resulting microchannel assembly 1002 constructed from the members 902, 904. In both drawings, the cross-section is taken transversely to the direction of flow of the coolant.
  • [0051]
    Member 902 may be generally in the form of a conventional microchannel structure (to be covered by a flat lid if conventional practice were to prevail), but possibly with deeper and wider gaps formed between parallel walls 906, which extend normally from base 908 of member 902. Each wall 906 has a respective outer end 910.
  • [0052]
    Member 904 may be similar to member 902, and may have a base 912 and parallel walls 914 which extend normally from base 912. Member 904 may differ from member 902 in that the outermost ones of the walls 914 may both be recessed from a respective end of the base 912. In other embodiments, however, the members 904, 902 may be substantially identical, except possibly for the presence of inlet and outlet holes in one of the members. Each wall 914 has a respective outer end 916.
  • [0053]
    In assembling the microchannel assembly 1002 from members 902, 904, the walls 906 of member 902 may be interleaved with the walls 914 of member 904 and the outer ends 910 of walls 906 of member 902 may be bonded to the base 912 of the member 904, and the outer ends 916 of walls 914 of member 904 may be bonded to the base 908 of the member 902. In this arrangement, the walls 906 of member 902 cooperate with the walls 914 of the member 904 to define microchannels 1004 (FIG. 10) in the microchannel assembly 1002. In particular, in each microchannel, one side wall is defined by a wall 906 of member 902 and the other side wall is defined by a wall 914 of member 904.
  • [0054]
    Each of the members 902, 904 may be made of a conventional material for a microchannel structure and the gaps between parallel walls may be formed by a conventional and relatively inexpensive process such as dry etching to provide gaps having an aspect ratio of five, for example. It will be appreciated that the microchannels in the resulting microchannel assembly 1002 have an aspect ratio that is more than twice the aspect ratio of the gaps in the individual members. In this way, an advantageous process may be employed to form high aspect ratio microchannels even though the process if employed in a conventional manner could only produce a lower aspect ratio microchannel. With the higher aspect ratio, lower pressure drops and/or improved heat transfer may be achieved.
  • [0055]
    Each of the members 902, 904 may, in some embodiments, be formed as a unitary body. The bonding of one member to another may be by diffusion bonding, eutectic bonding or other suitable process.
  • [0056]
    FIG. 11 is a schematic plan view of a microchannel assembly 1102 according to still further embodiments. FIG. 12 is a schematic vertical sectional view of the microchannel assembly 1102 taken along line XII-XII in FIG. 11. FIG. 14 is a schematic vertical sectional view of the microchannel assembly 1102 taken along line XIV-XIV in FIG. 11.
  • [0057]
    The microchannel assembly 1102 includes a microchannel structure 1402 (FIG. 14) which has microchannels 1404 formed therein. The microchannels 1404, as in previous embodiments, are for transporting a coolant and are to be located proximate to an integrated circuit (not shown in FIGS. 11, 12, 14) to transfer heat from the IC to the coolant. The microchannel structure 1402 may be provided in accordance with conventional practices or alternatively may be configured as described in connection with FIGS. 2 and 3.
  • [0058]
    The microchannel assembly 1102 also includes a lid 1406 (FIG. 14) which is positioned on the microchannel structure 1402 to define the upper walls of the microchannels 1404. As best seen in FIG. 11, the lid 1406 has formed therein an inlet 1104 and an inlet 1106. The inlets 1104, 1106 are located at respective opposite ends of the microchannel assembly 1102 and hence are formed at respective opposite ends of the lid 1406. The inlets are to allow coolant to flow into the microchannel assembly 1102.
  • [0059]
    The lid 1406 also has a plenum 1108 (FIGS. 11, 12, 14) formed therein. As indicated in FIG. 14, the plenum 1108 extends across and above the microchannels 1404 at a central location of the microchannels. More specifically, and as seen from FIG. 11, the longitudinal axis of the plenum 1108 is perpendicular to a line (not shown) drawn from one inlet 1104 to the other inlet 1106 and is substantially equidistant from, and positioned between, the inlets 1104, 1106. It will be noted that the plenum 1108 is centrally located relative to the microchannel assembly. At a central location along the plenum 1108, an outlet 1110 is formed to allow coolant to flow out of the microchannel assembly 1102. In some embodiments, a manifold (not shown) may be positioned on the lid 1406 to manage distribution of coolant between the inlets 1104, 1106 and to take coolant out from the outlet 1110.
  • [0060]
    The lid may, for example, be formed of copper and the plenum may be formed by a stamping operation.
  • [0061]
    In operation, coolant is flowed into the microchannel assembly 1102 via the inlets 1104, 1106. The coolant flows from the inlets into opposite ends of the microchannels via reservoirs 1112 (indicated in phantom in FIG. 11). The coolant flows from the opposite ends of each microchannel to a central location of the respective microchannel, as indicated in FIG. 12. From the central location in the microchannel, the coolant flows up into the plenum 1108. In the case of each microchannel not located directly under the outlet 1110, the coolant from the respective microchannel flows through the plenum toward the outlet 1110 (i.e., toward the center of the lid 1406). The coolant then flows out of the microchannel assembly via the outlet 1110.
  • [0062]
    With this arrangement of flowing coolant from both ends of each microchannel toward a central location along the microchannel, the path of coolant flow along the microchannel from inlet to outlet is reduced by one-half relative to a given over-all length of the microchannel. As a result, the pressure drop along the coolant path from inlet to outlet may be substantially reduced (e.g., by about half), thereby reducing the requirements for the pump needed in the cooling system.
  • [0063]
    Instead of flowing the coolant from the ends of the microchannels toward the center of the microchannel assembly, in other embodiments the coolant may flow from the center of the microchannel assembly out toward both ends of the microchannels, as schematically illustrated in FIG. 13. In this case essentially the same structure may be used, but the central port is used as an inlet (labeled 1302 in FIG. 13), and the ports at the ends of the microchannel are used as dual outlets (labeled 1304, 1306 in FIG. 13).
  • [0064]
    The various embodiments described above may be combined in a variety of ways. For example, the manifold plate (FIGS. 4, 5) or integrated manifold/lid (FIG. 6) may be used in conjunction with the microchannel structures of FIGS. 2, 3 or 8, 10 and/or with the reduced flow length inlet/outlet arrangements of FIGS. 11-14. For example, a manifold plate or lid may provide right-angle passages for each of the inlets/outlets shown in the embodiments or FIGS. 11-14. Other combinations of features disclosed herein may also be implemented.
  • [0065]
    FIG. 15 is a block diagram showing an IC die 1510 and additional components of a cooling system 1500. For purposes of illustration the microchannel assembly 1540 (which may be any one of the microchannel assemblies described above) is shown as a single block. The cooling system 1500 includes a coolant circulation system 1590 to supply the coolant to the microchannel assembly 1540. The coolant circulation system 1590 may be in fluid communication with the microchannel assembly 1540 via one or more coolant supply channels or lines 1592 and one or more coolant return channels 1594. Although not separately shown, a pump and a heat exchanger located remotely from the die 1510 may be included in the coolant circulation system 1590.
  • [0066]
    Coolant supplied by the coolant circulation system 1590 may flow through the microchannels of the microchannel assembly 1540 at or above the rear surface of the IC die 1510 to aid in cooling the IC die 1510. In some embodiments, the coolant is operated with two phases—liquid and vapor. That is, in some embodiments at least part of the coolant in the microchannels is in a gaseous state. In other embodiments, the coolant is single phase—that is, all liquid.
  • [0067]
    The IC die 1510 may be associated with a microprocessor in some embodiments. FIG. 16 is a block diagram of a system 1600 in which such a die 1610 may be incorporated. In particular, the die 1610 includes many sub-blocks, such as an Arithmetic Logic Unit (ALU) 1604 and an on-die cache 1606. The microprocessor on die 1610 may also communicate to other levels of cache, such as off-die cache 1608. Higher memory hierarchy levels, such as system memory 1611, may be accessed via a host bus 1612 and a chipset 1614. In addition, other off-die functional units, such as a graphics accelerator 1616 and a Network Interface Controller (NIC) 1618, to name just a few, may communicate with the microprocessor on die 1610 via appropriate busses or ports.
  • [0068]
    The IC die 1610 may be cooled in accordance with any of the embodiments described herein. For example, a pump 1690 may circulate a coolant (e.g., including water) through a cold plate 1640 proximate to the IC die 1610 and having at least one microchannel to transport the coolant.
  • [0069]
    The system architecture shown in FIG. 16 is exemplary; other system architectures may be employed.
  • [0070]
    The several embodiments described herein are solely for the purpose of illustration. The various features described herein need not all be used together, and any one or more of those features may be incorporated in a single embodiment. Therefore, persons skilled in the art will recognize from this description that other embodiments may be practiced with various modifications and alterations.

Claims (27)

  1. 1-7. (canceled)
  2. 8. An apparatus comprising:
    a microchannel structure having microchannels formed therein, said microchannels to transport a coolant and to be proximate to an integrated circuit to transfer heat from the integrated circuit to the coolant;
    a cover positioned on the microchannel structure; and
    a plate mounted on said cover, said plate having formed therein a right-angle passage to provide fluid communication between a first port on a lower horizontal surface of said plate and a second port on a vertical surface of said plate.
  3. 9. The apparatus of claim 8, wherein said first port is aligned with an inlet formed in said cover.
  4. 10. The apparatus of claim 9, wherein said right-angle passage is a first right-angle passage;
    said plate also having formed therein a second right-angle passage to provide fluid communication between a third port on said lower horizontal surface of said plate and a fourth port on a vertical surface of said plate;
    wherein said third port is aligned with an outlet formed in said cover.
  5. 11. An apparatus comprising:
    a microchannel structure having microchannels formed therein, said microchannels to transport a coolant and to be proximate to an integrated circuit to transfer heat from the integrated circuit to the coolant;
    a cover positioned on the microchannel structure and having formed therein a right-angle passage to provide fluid communication between a first port on a lower horizontal surface of said cover and a second port on a vertical surface of said cover.
  6. 12. The apparatus of claim 11, wherein said right-angle passage is a first right-angle passage;
    said cover also having formed therein a second right-angle passage to provide fluid communication between a third port on said lower horizontal surface of said cover and a fourth port on said vertical surface of said cover.
  7. 13. The apparatus of claim 11, wherein said right-angle passage is a first right-angle passage and said vertical surface is a first vertical surface;
    said cover also having formed therein a second right-angle passage to provide fluid communication between a third port on said lower horizontal surface of said cover and a fourth port on a second vertical surface of said cover, said second vertical surface being different from said first vertical surface.
  8. 14. A microchannel assembly comprising:
    a first member having a base and parallel walls extending normally from said base; and
    a second member having a base and parallel walls extending normally from said base of said second member;
    said second member bonded to said first member such that said parallel walls of said second member cooperate with said parallel walls of said first member to define microchannels, said microchannels to transport a coolant and to be proximate to an integrated circuit to transfer heat from the integrated circuit to the coolant.
  9. 15. The microchannel assembly of claim 14, wherein:
    each of said parallel walls of said first member has a respective outer end;
    each of said parallel walls of said second member has a respective outer end; and
    the respective outer end of each of said parallel walls of said first member is bonded to the respective outer end of a respective one of said parallel walls of said second member.
  10. 16. The microchannel assembly of claim 14, wherein:
    each of said parallel walls of said first member has a respective outer end;
    each of said parallel walls of said second member has a respective outer end;
    the outer ends of the parallel walls of said first member are bonded to said base of said second member; and
    the outer ends of the parallel walls of said second member are bonded to said base of said first member.
  11. 17. A method comprising:
    providing a first member having a base and parallel walls extending normally from said base;
    providing a second member having a base and parallel walls extending normally from said base of said second member; and
    bonding said first member to said second member to form a microchannel assembly.
  12. 18. The method of claim 17, wherein:
    each of said parallel walls of said first member has a respective outer end;
    each of said parallel walls of said second member has a respective outer end; and
    said bonding includes bonding the respective outer end of each of said parallel walls of said first member to the respective outer end of a respective one of said parallel walls of said second member.
  13. 19. The method of claim 18, wherein:
    each of said parallel walls of said first member has a respective outer end;
    each of said parallel walls of said second member has a respective outer end; and
    said bonding includes:
    bonding the respective outer end of each of said parallel walls of said first member to the base of said second member; and
    bonding the respective outer end of each of said parallel walls of said second member to the base of said first member.
  14. 20. A method comprising:
    supplying a microchannel assembly having at least one microchannel formed therein, said at least one microchannel to transport a coolant and to be proximate to an integrated circuit to transfer heat from the integrated circuit to the coolant; and
    flowing a coolant from opposite ends of said at least one microchannel to a central location of said at least one microchannel.
  15. 21. The method of claim 20, wherein the coolant is flowed into said microchannel assembly via two inlets, including a first inlet located at a first end of the microchannel assembly and a second inlet located at a second end of the microchannel assembly, said second end opposite said first end.
  16. 22. The method of claim 21, wherein the coolant is flowed out of said microchannel assembly via a plenum that is centrally located relative to said microchannel assembly.
  17. 23. A method comprising:
    supplying a microchannel assembly having at least one microchannel formed therein, said at least one microchannel to transport a coolant and to be proximate to an integrated circuit to transfer heat from the integrated circuit to the coolant; and
    flowing a coolant from a central location of said at least one microchannel to opposite ends of said at least one microchannel.
  18. 24. The method of claim 23, wherein the coolant is flowed out of said microchannel assembly via two outlets, including a first outlet located at a first end of the microchannel assembly and a second outlet located at a second end of the microchannel assembly, said second end opposite said first end.
  19. 25. The method of claim 24, wherein the coolant is flowed into said microchannel assembly via a plenum that is centrally located relative to said microchannel assembly.
  20. 26. A microchannel assembly having microchannels formed therein, said microchannels to transport a coolant and to be proximate to an integrated circuit to transfer heat from the integrated circuit to the coolant, said microchannel assembly having two inlets to allow coolant to flow into said microchannel assembly, said two inlets including a first inlet located at a first end of said microchannel assembly and a second inlet located at a second end of said microchannel assembly, said second end opposite said first end, said microchannel assembly also having an outlet to allow coolant to flow out of said microchannel assembly.
  21. 27. The microchannel assembly of claim 26, wherein said outlet is between and substantially equidistant from said inlets.
  22. 28. The microchannel assembly of claim 27, further comprising a plenum which extends across and above said microchannels at a central location of said microchannels to allow coolant to flow from said microchannels to said outlet.
  23. 29. The microchannel assembly of claim 27, wherein said microchannels are formed in a microchannel structure, said assembly further comprising:
    a cover positioned on the microchannel structure, said cover having at least one right-angle passage formed therein to allow fluid to flow to one of said inlets or from said outlet.
  24. 30. A microchannel assembly having microchannels formed therein, said microchannels to transport a coolant and to be proximate to an integrated circuit to transfer heat from the integrated circuit to the coolant, said microchannel assembly having two outlets to allow coolant to flow out of said microchannel assembly, said two outlets including a first outlet located at a first end of said microchannel assembly and a second outlet located at a second end of said microchannel assembly, said second end opposite said first end, said microchannel assembly also having an inlet to allow coolant to flow into said microchannel assembly.
  25. 31. The microchannel assembly of claim 30, wherein said inlet is between and substantially equidistant from said outlets.
  26. 32. The microchannel assembly of claim 31, further comprising a plenum which extends across and above said microchannels at a central location of said microchannels to allow coolant to flow from said inlet to said microchannels.
  27. 33. The microchannel assembly of claim 30, wherein said microchannels are formed in a microchannel structure, said assembly further comprising:
    a cover positioned on the microchannel structure, said cover having at least one right-angle passage formed therein to allow fluid to flow from one of said outlets or to said inlet.
US11749444 2005-04-07 2007-05-16 Integrated circuit coolant microchannel assembly with targeted channel configuration Abandoned US20070217147A1 (en)

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US7259965B2 (en) 2007-08-21 grant

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