Running LEDs in reverse could cool computers

Running LEDs in reverse could cool computers

The quest to find more efficient methods for cooling computers is almost as high on scientists’ agendas as the desire to discover better battery chemistries.

More cooling is crucial for reducing costs. It would also allow for more powerful processing to take place in smaller spaces, where limited processing should be crunching numbers instead of making wasteful heat. It would stop heat-caused breakdowns, thereby creating longevity in components, and it would promote eco-friendly data centers — less heat means less impact on the environment.

Removing heat from microprocessors is one angle scientists have been exploring, and they think they have come up with a simple, but unusual and counter-intuitive solution. They say that running a variant of a Light Emitting Diode (LED) with its electrodes reversed forces the component to act as if it were at an unusually low temperature. Placing it next to warmer electronics, then, with a nanoscale gap introduced, causes the LED to suck out the heat.

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