WNYT.com

Technology breakthrough developed in Niskayuna

Posted at: 12/26/2012 5:50 PM
Updated at: 12/26/2012 6:24 PM
By: Jim Kambrich

NISKAYUNA - As computers become thinner and thinner, and the processing chips more powerful, the computer industry has been struggling to find ways to keep the electronics cool..until now.

New technology developed at General Electric in Niskayuna may become standard equipment in the laptops of the future.

There has been a major technology breakthrough, with the creation of a device for cooling electronics,

Scientists at General Electric's Global Research Facility in Niskayuna call it a "dual piezoelectric cooling jet" or DCJ.

With a small amount of electrical current, it's only two moving parts vibrate at high speed and act as a tiny bellows to cool the next generation of more powerful, thinner computers and other electronics.

The idea behind it came from Dr. Seyed Saddoughi, Principal Engineer at GE's Aero-Thermal and Mechanical Systems.

He originally developed the synthetic jet actuator technology to make aircraft fly more efficiently and use less energy.

His tiny devices, working with sensors, automatically pump out, and suck in high velocity jets of air adjusting flow and improving the aerodynamics of an aircraft wing or turbine blade.

“The benefit of an active system is when you need it, you put it on. When you don't, you shut if off. Hence the energy consumption is very small,” he said.

When electronics cooling researchers at GE saw the device for the first time, they had "a moment."

“When they saw this and the amount of flow was coming out, light bulb went on and they basically said, wait...we can use this for cooling purposes,” said Dr. SADDOUGHI

“When we saw Seyeds invention it was very impressive because #1: it didn't have any bearings and didn't have a dc motor. And what people really dislike about the lap top is often the fans,” said Peter de Bock, Electronics Cooling Researcher.

De bock says they've reached a milestone. Their adaptation of the device uses half the power, and is a third the size of a typical computer fan.

The jets are as thin as a credit card. They can be used in other applications. They can improve anything that generates heat by cooling them down.

They also last a lot longer.

With non corrosive materials, no motor, and no moving blades, these scientists believe the DCJ's could last 20-30 years.

“It's been a fun adventure of exploring the technology and refining it and improving it for both size and shape,” said Bryan Whalen, Synthetic Jet Specialist.