The increased circuit density on today’s computer chips is reaching the heat dissipation limits for air-cooled technology. Direct liquid cooling of chips is being considered as a viable alternative. This paper reviews liquid cooling in terms of technological options and challenges. The possibilities presented herein indicate a four-to ten-fold increase in heat flux over the air-cooled systems. The roadmap for single-phase cooling technology is presented to identify research opportunities in meeting the cooling demands of future IC chips. The use of three-dimensional microchannels that incorporate either microstructures in the channel of grooves in the channel surfaces may lead to enhancement in single-phase cooling. A simplified fabrication process is described that can build both classes of three-dimensional microchannels. Proof-of-concept microchannels are presented to demonstrate the efficacy of the fabrication process.

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