Nextreme Inc., a maker of micro-scale thermal and power management products in Research Triangle, NC, has developed a novel way to cool chips while banking energy. The company runs the cooling process in reverse, converting the heat into power circuitry that trickle-charges batteries. The process arises from an esoteric — yet basically simple — change in the way chips are packaged.
Nextreme's innovation creates a thermally active copper pillar bump. When electrical current is passed through the bump one side cools rapidly relative to the other and the bump actually generates power. While the principles behind the process have been known for a long time, they've only been possible thanks to recent advances in nanotechnology.
Most machine design engineers will survey existing component manufacturers for standard linear guide products, limiting what they can do with their designs. Using extruded aluminum profile guides can customize machine designs while shrinking the bill of materials.
Practically all electronic devices today contain metals that may
be coming from conflict-ravaged African countries. And political pressures will increasingly influence how these minerals are sourced and used in products.
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