Thermal Performance and Key Challenges for Future CPU Cooling Technologies

Publication Type

Conference Paper




Over the past few years, thermal design for cooling microprocessors has become increasingly challenging mainly because of an increase in both average power density and local power density, commonly referred to as “hot spots”. The current air cooling technologies present diminishing returns, thus it is strategically important for the microelectronics industry to establish the research and development focus for future non air-cooling technologies. This paper presents the thermal performance capability for enabling and package based cooling technologies using a range of “reasonable” boundary conditions. In the enabling area a few key main building blocks are considered: air cooling, high conductivity materials, liquid cooling (single and two-phase), thermoelectric modules integrated with heat pipes/vapor chambers, refrigeration based devices and the thermal interface materials performance. For package based technologies we present only the microchannel building block (cold plate in contact with the back-side of the die). It will be shown that as the hot spot density factor increases, package based cooling technologies should be considered for more significant cooling improvements. In addition to thermal performance, a summary of the key technical challenges are presented in the paper.   This paper was also originally published as part of the Proceedings of the ASME 2005 Heat Transfer Summer Conference.


ASME 2005 Pacific Rim Technical Conference and Exhibition on Integration and Packaging of MEMS, NEMS, and Electronic Systems collocated with the ASME 2005 Heat Transfer Summer Conference

Year of Publication



Research Areas