Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Nanotubes act as 'thermal velcro'

Nanotubes act as 'thermal velcro' to reduce computer-chip heating

West Lafayette, IN | Posted on May 01, 2006

Engineers have created carpets made of tiny cylinders called carbon nanotubes to enhance the flow of heat at a critical point where computer chips connect to cooling devices called heat sinks, promising to help keep future chips from overheating.

Researchers are trying to develop new types of "thermal interface materials" that conduct heat more efficiently than conventional materials, improving overall performance and helping to meet cooling needs of future chips that will produce more heat than current microprocessors. The materials, which are sandwiched between silicon chips and the metal heat sinks, fill gaps and irregularities between the chip and metal surfaces to enhance heat flow between the two.

Purdue University researchers have made several new thermal interface materials with carbon nanotubes, including a Velcro-like nanocarpet. "The bottom line is the performance that we see with nanotubes is significantly better than comparable state-of-the-art commercial materials," said Timothy Fisher, an associate professor of mechanical engineering who is leading the research. "Carbon nanotubes have excellent heat-conduction properties, and our ability to fabricate them in a controlled manner has been instrumental in realizing this application."

Recent findings have shown that the nanotube-based interfaces can conduct several times more heat than conventional thermal interface materials at the same temperatures. The nanocarpet, called a "carbon nanotube array thermal interface," can be attached to both the chip and heat sink surfaces.

"We say it's like Velcro because it creates an interwoven mesh of fibers when both sides of the interface are coated with nanotubes," Fisher said. "We don't mean that it creates a strong mechanical bond, but the two pieces come together in such a way that they facilitate heat flow, becoming the thermal equivalent of Velcro. In some cases, using a combination of nanotube material and traditional interface materials also shows a strong synergistic effect."

Findings related to the combination of carbon nanotubes and traditional interface materials are detailed in a paper appearing in the May issue of the International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer. The paper was written by mechanical engineering doctoral student Jun Xu and Fisher.

Heat is generated at various points within the intricate circuitry of computer chips and at locations where chips connect to other parts. As heat flows through conventional thermal interface materials, the temperature rises about 15 degrees Celsius, whereas the nanotube array material causes a rise of about 5 degrees or less.

It will be necessary to find more efficient thermal interface materials in the future because as computer chips become increasingly more compact, more circuitry will be patterned onto a smaller area, producing additional heat. Excess heat reduces the performance of computer chips and can ultimately destroy the delicate circuits.

The nanotubes range in diameter from less than one nanometer to about 100 nanometers. A nanometer is a billionth of a meter, or about the distance of 10 atoms strung together.

The nanotube carpets also might have military and other commercial applications for cooling "power electronics," which are systems that control and convert the flow of electrical power so that it can be used for various purposes on an aircraft, ship or vehicle.

The research has been funded by Purdue's Cooling Technologies Research Center, supported by the National Science Foundation, industry and Purdue to help corporations develop miniature cooling technologies for a wide range of applications, from electronics and computers to telecommunications and advanced aircraft. Applications in power electronics are being supported by the Air Force Research Laboratory in association with the Birck Nanotechnology Center at Purdue's Discovery Park.

The technology is ready for commercialization and is being pursued by several corporate members of the cooling research center, including Nanoconduction Inc., a startup company in Sunnyvale, Calif., which is a new member of the cooling center.

####


Writer: Emil Venere, (765) 494-4709, venere@purdue.edu

Source Timothy Fisher, (765) 494-5627, tsfisher@purdue.edu

Related Web site:
Timothy Fisher: tools.ecn.purdue.edu/ME/Fac_Staff/fisher.whtml

Note to Journalists: An electronic copy of the research paper is available from Emil Venere, (765) 494-4709, venere@purdue.edu

ABSTRACT
Enhancement of thermal interface materials with carbon

Jun Xu, Timothy S. Fisher

This paper describes an experimental study of thermal contact conductance enhancement enabled by carbon nanotube (CNT) arrays synthesized directly on silicon wafers using plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition. Testing based on the one-dimensional reference bar method occurred in a high-vacuum environment with radiation shielding, and temperature measurements were made with an infrared camera. Results from other thermal interface materials are presented, as well as combinations of these materials with CNT arrays. Dry CNT arrays produce a minimum thermal interface resistance of 19.8 mm2 K/ W, while the combination of a CNT array and a phase change material produces a minimum resistance of 5.2 mm2 K/W.Text of abstract, with leading set at 14 points, so it doesn't take as much room.

Contact:
Purdue University
News Service
400 Centennial Mall Drive, Rm. 324
West Lafayette, IN 47907-2016
(765) 494-2096
fax: (765) 494-0401
purduenews@purdue.edu

Copyright © Purdue University

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

Possible Futures

Video captures bubble-blowing battery in action: Researchers propose how bubbles form, could lead to smaller lithium-air batteries April 26th, 2017

California Research Alliance by BASF establishes more than 25 research projects in three years April 26th, 2017

Geoffrey Beach: Drawn to explore magnetism: Materials researcher is working on the magnetic memory of the future April 25th, 2017

Nanoparticle vaccine shows potential as immunotherapy to fight multiple cancer types April 24th, 2017

Chip Technology

Geoffrey Beach: Drawn to explore magnetism: Materials researcher is working on the magnetic memory of the future April 25th, 2017

'Neuron-reading' nanowires could accelerate development of drugs for neurological diseases April 12th, 2017

Nanometrics to Announce First Quarter Financial Results on May 2, 2017 April 11th, 2017

AIM Photonics Presents Cutting-Edge Integrated Photonics Technology Developments to Packed House at OFC 2017, the Optical Networking and Communication Conference & Exhibition April 11th, 2017

Nanotubes/Buckyballs/Fullerenes

Nanotubes that build themselves April 14th, 2017

Intertronics introduce new nanoparticle deagglomeration technology March 15th, 2017

Boron atoms stretch out, gain new powers: Rice University simulations demonstrate 1-D material's stiffness, electrical versatility January 26th, 2017

New stem cell technique shows promise for bone repair January 25th, 2017

Nanoelectronics

Researchers “iron out” graphene’s wrinkles: New technique produces highly conductive graphene wafers April 3rd, 2017

A big leap toward tinier lines: Self-assembly technique could lead to long-awaited, simple method for making smaller microchip patterns March 27th, 2017

Scientists discover new 'boat' form of promising semiconductor: GeSe Uncommon form attenuates semiconductor's band gap size March 23rd, 2017

UC researchers use gold coating to control luminescence of nanowires: University of Cincinnati physicists manipulate nanowire semiconductors in pursuit of making electronics smaller, faster and cheaper March 17th, 2017

Announcements

Metal nanoparticles induced visible-light photocatalysis: Mechanisms, applications, ways of promoting catalytic activity and outlook April 27th, 2017

Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals to Webcast Fiscal 2017 Second Quarter Results April 27th, 2017

New Product Nanoparticle preparation from Intertronics with new Thinky NP-100 Nano Pulveriser April 26th, 2017

California Research Alliance by BASF establishes more than 25 research projects in three years April 26th, 2017

Military

Nano-SPEARs gently measure electrical signals in small animals: Rice University's tiny needles simplify data gathering to probe diseases, test drugs April 17th, 2017

New technology could offer cheaper, faster food testing: Specialized droplets interact with bacteria and can be analyzed using a smartphone April 7th, 2017

Teri Odom and Richard Van Duyne Honored by Department of Defense: Each will receive $3 million over five years to conduct high-risk, high-payoff research March 31st, 2017

NIST physicists show ion pairs perform enhanced 'spooky action' March 30th, 2017

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project