Department of Mechanical Engineering
Kenneth E. Goodson
Micro- and nanotechnology have revolutionized the design opportunities, and the relevant fundamental transport phenomena, associated with heat exchangers. Much progress has been motivated by heat sink development for microprocessor cooling, in particular the challenges of localized hotspots. Hotspots are most challenging for 3D integrated circuits, and microfluidic networks are a promising high-tech solution for the 3D cooling challenge.
Stanford has been at the forefront of microfluidic cooling research and development for nearly two decades, including early work on MEMS-based metrology for temperature and phase distributions in two-phase microchannel convection. Additional activities include the study of microchannel condensation. Other measurement advancements have included visualization methods for phase and pressure distributions in microchannel convection, as well as characterization of microchannel condensation flow. Recent progress includes the first demonstration and characterization of a novel vapor-escape microfluidic heat exchanger, which uses a gas-permeable membrane to reduce the pressure drop required to achieve thermal resistance targets. We are exploring the use of nanostructured materials, including silicon nanopillar arrays, as advanced wicking structures for compact heat pipes and vapor chambers.
In 2001 and 2002, this group authored series of patents that were the foundation for a major startup company, Cooligy Inc, which developed novel and sold microfluidic heat sinks for Apple desktop computers in 2005 and 2006. Cooligy was acquired by Emerson in 2005.