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Closeup of Solid State Fan  (Source: Dan Schlitz and Vishal Singhal, Thorrn Micro Technologies)

Chart Showing solid Stat Fan vs. Traditional Fans  (Source: Thorrn Micro Technologies)
Researcher says the solid-state fan is the biggest improvement in cooling since the heat pipe

Many computer enthusiasts understand that how fast a processor runs is in part dependent on how well the chip can be cooled. This is why record-setting benchmark runs are typically made with processors cooled by exotic means.

Cooling is just as important for mobile systems like notebook computers and other portable electronics. The size of the fan required for the system can affect how small devices can be built. A pair of engineers from Thorrn Micro Technologies Inc, Dan Schlitz and Vishal Singhal, have developed a new solid-state fan that works similarly to household air purifiers.

The resulting fan is the most powerful and energy efficient fan of its size and moves more air than fans that are 35 times its size. The RSD5 solid-state fan is described by Singhal as, “One of the most significant advancements in electronics cooling since heat pipes. It could change the cooling paradigm for mobile electronics.”

The device operates thanks to a phenomenon called corona wind. This corona wind is created by placing a series of live wires within uncharged conducting plates contoured into half cylinders, partially enveloping the wires. The live wires generate micro-scale plasma that conducts electricity.

The corona wind is created within the intense electrical field that results from the configuration of the wires and the conducting plates. The researchers say they were able to control the micro-scale discharge to produce maximum airflow without risk of arcing or sparks which could prove catastrophic to electronic devices [Video].

Schlitz says, “The technology has the power to cool a 25-watt chip with a device smaller than 1 cubic-cm and can someday be integrated into silicon to make self-cooling chips.”

MSI has also been working on more efficient ways to cool electronic components as well. DailyTech reported in February that MSI had announced a new ECOlution chipset cooler that operates on the Stirling Engine Theory.

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RE: Useless
By ineedaname on 3/19/2008 5:42:29 PM , Rating: 4
I work at a computer repair center and actually most of the hardware problems that come in are all heat related. So a better way to cool laptops is VERY essential. You can say its not a bottleneck but it definitely will prolong the lifespan of your laptop.

RE: Useless
By ChronoReverse on 3/19/2008 6:50:19 PM , Rating: 2
I don't dispute the need for cooling and especially cooling in confined spaces.

However, overheating laptops tend to be caused by poorly designed cooling setups, clogged (with dust) vents or some sort of user silliness (like blocking the exhaust). This smaller fan isn't going to help with any of that.

In my laptop, even when the fan is quiet, I can easily detect a jet of warm to hot air coming out. Can we really do with a current equivalent to a fan 35 times the size (I'll assume area)?

In short, the only real issue it solves is fan blade noise. Which is fine and all but hardly a revolution. It also doesn't help that similar concepts have popped up every once in a while without any results. Unless I'm totally misunderstanding this, it's same old "ionic wind" type of tech. Mmmm, I love ozone.

RE: Useless
By Oregonian2 on 3/19/2008 7:02:37 PM , Rating: 2
In short, the only real issue it solves is fan blade noise.

The article doesn't say anything about the fan being quiet. Could be twice as noisy -- just isn't coming from a blade. Moving/accelerating air has the potential to make noise (or at least sound, "noise" is just an interpretation of sound).

RE: Useless
By ChronoReverse on 3/19/2008 7:05:58 PM , Rating: 2
I'm building from the another post' claim that it'll be quieter (my original post stated it'd be loud).

If this thing is quieter, then it's worse than useless; it'll spit out ozone and ions as well.

"We don't know how to make a $500 computer that's not a piece of junk." -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs
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