Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Nanotube forests grown on silicon chips for future computers, electronics

Mechanical engineering doctoral student Baratunde A. Cola, from left, looks through a view port in a plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition instrument while postdoctoral research fellow Placidus Amama adjusts settings. The two engineers recently have shown how to grow forests of tiny cylinders called carbon nanotubes onto the surfaces of computer chips to enhance the flow of heat at a critical point where the chips connect to cooling devices called heat sinks. The carpetlike growth of nanotubes has been shown to outperform conventional "thermal interface materials." The research is based at the Birck Nanotechnology Center in Discovery Park at Purdue. (Purdue News Service photo/David Umberger)
Mechanical engineering doctoral student Baratunde A. Cola, from left, looks through a view port in a plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition instrument while postdoctoral research fellow Placidus Amama adjusts settings. The two engineers recently have shown how to grow forests of tiny cylinders called carbon nanotubes onto the surfaces of computer chips to enhance the flow of heat at a critical point where the chips connect to cooling devices called heat sinks. The carpetlike growth of nanotubes has been shown to outperform conventional "thermal interface materials." The research is based at the Birck Nanotechnology Center in Discovery Park at Purdue. (Purdue News Service photo/David Umberger)

Abstract:
Engineers have shown how to grow forests of tiny cylinders called carbon nanotubes onto the surfaces of computer chips to enhance the flow of heat at a critical point where the chips connect to cooling devices called heat sinks.

Nanotube forests grown on silicon chips for future computers, electronics

WEST LAFAYETTE, IN | Posted on October 1st, 2007

The carpetlike growth of nanotubes has been shown to outperform conventional "thermal interface materials." Like those materials, the nanotube layer does not require elaborate clean-room environments, representing a possible low-cost manufacturing approach to keep future chips from overheating and reduce the size of cooling systems, said Placidus B. Amama, a postdoctoral research associate at the Birck Nanotechnology Center in Purdue's Discovery Park.

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.

The method developed by the Purdue researchers enables them to create a nanotube interface that conforms to a heat sink's uneven surface, conducting heat with less resistance than comparable interface materials currently in use by industry, said doctoral student Baratunde A. Cola.

Findings were detailed in a research paper that appeared in September's issue of the journal Nanotechnology. The paper was written by Amama; Cola; Timothy D. Sands, director of the Birck Nanotechnology Center and the Basil S. Turner Professor of Materials Engineering and Electrical and Computer Engineering; and Xianfan Xu and Timothy S. Fisher, both professors of mechanical engineering.

Better thermal interface materials are needed either to test computer chips in manufacturing or to keep chips cooler during operation in commercial products.

"In a personal computer, laptop and portable electronics, the better your thermal interface material, the smaller the heat sink and overall chip-cooling systems have to be," Cola said.

Heat sinks are structures that usually contain an array of fins to increase surface contact with the air and improve heat dissipation, and a fan often also is used to blow air over the devices to cool chips.

Conventional thermal interface materials include greases, waxes and a foil made of a metal called indium. All of these materials, however, have drawbacks. The greases don't last many cycles of repeatedly testing chips on the assembly line. The indium foil doesn't make good enough contact for optimum heat transfer, Fisher said.

The Purdue researchers created templates from branching molecules called dendrimers, forming these templates on a silicon surface. Then, metal catalyst particles that are needed to grow the nanotubes were deposited inside cavities between the dendrimer branches. Heat was then applied to the silicon chip, burning away the polymer and leaving behind only the metal catalyst particles.

The engineers then placed the catalyst particle-laden silicon inside a chamber and exposed it to methane gas. Microwave energy was applied to break down the methane, which contains carbon. The catalyst particles prompted the nanotubes to assemble from carbon originating in the methane, and the tubes then grew vertically from the surface of the silicon chip.

"The dendrimer is a vehicle to deliver the cargo of catalyst particles, making it possible for us to seed the carbon nanotube growth right on the substrate," Amama said. "We are able to control the particle size - what ultimately determines the diameters of the tubes - and we also have control over the density, or the thickness of this forest of nanotubes. The density, quality and diameter are key parameters in controlling the heat-transfer properties."

The catalyst particles are made of "transition metals," such as iron, cobalt, nickel or palladium. Because the catalyst particles are about 10 nanometers in diameter, they allow the formation of tubes of similar diameter.

The branching dendrites are tipped with molecules called amines, which act as handles to stick to the silicon surface.

"This is important because for heat-transfer applications, you want the nanotubes to be well-anchored," Amama said.

Researchers usually produce carbon nanotubes separately and then attach them to the silicon chips or mix them with a polymer and then apply them as a paste.

"Our direct growth approach, however, addresses the critical heat-flow path, which is between the chip surface and the nanotubes themselves," Fisher said. "Without this direct connection, the thermal performance suffers greatly."

Because the dendrimers have a uniform composition and structure, the researchers were able to control the distribution and density of catalyst particles.

The research team also has been able to control the number of "defect sites" in the lattice of carbon atoms making up the tubes, creating tubes that are more flexible. This increased flexibility causes the nanotube forests to conform to the surface of the heat sink, making for better contact and improved heat conduction.

"The tubes bend like toothbrush bristles, and they stick into the gaps and make a lot of real contact," Cola said.

The carbon nanotubes were grown using a technique called microwave plasma chemical vapor deposition, a relatively inexpensive method for manufacturing a thermal-interface material made of carbon nanotubes, Fisher said.

"The plasma deposition approach allows us great flexibility in controlling the growth environment and has enabled us to grow carbon nanotube arrays over a broad range of substrate temperatures," Fisher said.

The research has been funded by NASA through the Institute for Nanoelectronics and Computing, based at Purdue's Discovery Park. Cola also received support through a fellowship from Intel Corp. and Purdue.

####

About Purdue University
Founded in 1869 and named after benefactor John Purdue, Purdue University began its journey with six instructors, 39 students and a mission to provide agriculture and mechanic arts education.

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Writer: Emil Venere, (765) 494-4709,

Sources: Timothy Fisher, (765) 494-5627,

Timothy Sands, (765) 496-6105,

Placidus B. Amama, (765) 496-7407,

Baratunde A. Cola, (765) 496-8339,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

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

Chip Technology

'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

Photonics breakthough paving the way for improved wireless communication systems: The work could bolster the wireless revolution underway with efficiencies several orders of magnitude April 5th, 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

Discoveries

Graphene holds up under high pressure: Used in filtration membranes, ultrathin material could help make desalination more productive April 24th, 2017

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

Russian scientists create new system of concrete building structures: Sientists of Peter the Great Saint-Petersburg Polytechnic University developed a new construction technology April 24th, 2017

Two-dimensional melting of hard spheres experimentally unravelled after 60 years: First definitive experimental evidence of two-dimensional melting of hard spheres April 21st, 2017

Announcements

Graphene holds up under high pressure: Used in filtration membranes, ultrathin material could help make desalination more productive April 24th, 2017

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

Russian scientists create new system of concrete building structures: Sientists of Peter the Great Saint-Petersburg Polytechnic University developed a new construction technology April 24th, 2017

Two-dimensional melting of hard spheres experimentally unravelled after 60 years: First definitive experimental evidence of two-dimensional melting of hard spheres April 21st, 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