Researchers discover photonic cooling tech which makes chips emit more heat to keep cooler


One of the biggest enemies of tech advancement is the heat generated by components. Keep it cool and you keep on trucking. Let it get hot and your hardware is shot. We’ve got all sorts of cooling solutions out there right now, from your bog-standard fan-assisted to liquid cooling and even liquid nitrogen for the extreme overclockers. However, a team of researchers at Stanford University may have gone one better.

The researchers have come up with a theoretical method to manipulate heat radiation in order to boost cooling. In a nutshell, they believe causing an object to radiate extra heat is a new way to encourage cooling.

Let’s start with the basics.  Heat is radiated in and out of a device through photons. All objects, such as computer chips, radiate heat when used, as well as receiving heat from the environment around it. Typically, computer cooling solutions work by trying to cool the environment around the hardware, dissipating the heat.

Stanford researchers have come up with a theoretical device which could be used to boost the outgoing radiation heat from a device. The so-called ‘photonic generator’ would be placed on the surface of an object, raising the frequency of the radiated photons and therefore allowing each photon to carry more heat away. Low-energy photons go in, high energy photons go out.

The device itself would be a heat insulator which could be wrapped in thin layers around PC gaming hardware. Together with a light source, it would vibrate the photons of heat and cause the device to emit more heat, cooling the device more effectively.

In essence, what we’re looking at here is a reversal of the traditional heat exchange between hardware objects. At the moment, such tech is still in the theoretical stage, although the researchers believe they can construct an engineered diode which could rival just about any thermoelectric cooling system out there right now.