Microchip-sized Solid State Fan Actively Cools Laptops With No Moving Parts

Engineers at Thorrn Micro Technologies have created a solid state fan for portable gadgets that is one-fourth the size and two to three times more powerful than a comparable mechanical fan. The RSD5 fan, which is roughly the size of a microchip, is said to be extremely thin, silent, and powerful and current prototypes can effectively cool a 25-watt processor.

The RSD5 uses the same technology as ionic air purifiers, which create an electric current to generate a breeze. The fan uses plasma-generating live wires to release ions, which in turn creates an electric field where the ions push air molecules to an uncharged conducting plate that envelops the wires. This moving of air molecules creates a breeze, or a Corona Discharge. A mechanical fan for portable electronics moves wind at a speed of .7-1.7 meters per second, whereas the RSD5 can do 2.7 meters per second.

Lead engineers Dan Schlitz and Vishal Singhal just presented their research for the project at a symposium for thermal semiconductor research on March 17, and ultimately hope that this technology can be integrated into processors to create self-cooling chips. [Thorrn Micro via Science Blog]