“Blood and Silicon: New Electronics-Cooling System Mimics Human Capillaries”

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The Story

“Blood and Silicon: New Electronics-Cooling System Mimics Human Capillaries”
by Mariana Lenharo
Scientific American, September 9, 2020

The Pitch

I hope you are doing well. I have a news article I’d like to pitch to Scientific American. Please let me know if this could be a good fit. (As the story is a bit time-sensitive, it would be great if you could let me know if there is any interest by Wednesday, September 2).

How to cool chips more efficiently
A new strategy inspired by the human circulatory system

Researchers at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) developed a new system to cool chips that could help tackle the increasing heat problem in data centers while saving energy. Inspired by the human circulatory system, the method involves a network of fluid-carrying microchannels built within the semiconductor substrate that get much thinner, like blood capillaries, only in the precise regions where the heat is concentrated. This allows for energy-saving because it decreases the total pressure needed for the liquid to flow. Their research will be published in Nature on September 9.

I noticed it’s been a while since Scientific American last covered thermal management strategies for electronics, so I thought this would be an interesting news peg to discuss this important issue.

For this story, I already spoke with one of the authors, Elison Matioli, who shared some of the study’s details, including how they had to build a laboratory in one of his student’s apartment in order to finish the additional experiments required by the Nature reviewers in the middle of the quarantine. For an independent perspective, I plan to speak with Rama Venkatasubramanian, Senior Researcher and Team Leader in Energy and Thermal Management at The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory.

I also plan to briefly discuss how thermal management strategies have evolved from fan-cooled heat sinks to all the incremental advances that culminated in this study.

I could write this story in 600-800 words and could have it done by Friday, September 4. I should add that, although the author contacted me directly about the research, I agreed to respect Nature’s embargo policy.

A little bit about me: after covering science and health in Brazil for about eight years, I pursued a Master’s in science journalism at Columbia University. More recently, I covered drug development at BioPharm Insight/GlobalData in New York and am currently working as a freelance journalist. You can find some of my clips here: https://marianalenharo.journoportfolio.com/

Thank you so much!

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