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.
Researchers have been working on a number of alternative chemistries to lithium-ion for next-gen batteries, silicon-air among them. However, while the technology has been viewed as promising and cost-effective, to date researchers haven’t managed to develop a battery of this chemistry with a viable running time -- until now.
Norway-based additive manufacturing company Norsk Titanium is building what it says is the first industrial-scale 3D printing plant in the world for making aerospace-grade metal components. The New York state plant will produce 400 metric tons each year of aerospace-grade, structural titanium parts.
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