Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

android tablet pc

Home > Press > CU-Boulder Wins $1.5 Million Contract To Aid In Cooling Of Electronic Devices

A University of Colorado at Boulder research center has won a $1.5 million contract with its long-time partner Lockheed Martin Corp. to demonstrate new micro- and nanotechnologies that promise to significantly improve thermal management in electronic devices, one of the critical constraints on today's consumer and military electronic systems.

CU-Boulder Wins $1.5 Million Contract To Aid In Cooling Of Electronic Devices

BOULDER, CO | Posted on May 7th, 2008

The initial 18-month contract from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, managed by Thomas Kenny of the Microsystems Technology Office, is for the first phase of an effort to demonstrate the feasibility of replacing the copper heat pipe that is common in electronics and space systems today with a thermal ground plane -- a common, underlying component of printed circuit boards -- made of flexible polymer materials.

The total value of the effort, if all phases of the development program are completed, could be up to $3.95 million over four years.

The concept developed by Assistant Professor Ronggui Yang at CU-Boulder has vastly superior ability to remove the heat generated in computers and cell phones, as well as in new generations of energy systems such as flexible solar cells and batteries where heat removal requirements have limited further improvements, according to Professor Y.C. Lee of mechanical engineering, who directs the DARPA Focus Center on Nanoscale Science and Technology for Integrated Micro/Nano-Electromechanical Transducers, or iMINT.

"Cooling is the No. 1 problem in electronics, and this represents a total paradigm shift," Lee said. "Flexible thermal ground planes have 100 times better thermal conductivity than copper and will enable a new generation of high-performance, integrated microelectronic, photonic or microwave systems operating at high power density without constraints resulting from complex thermal management solutions."

The research team plans to fabricate a thermal ground plane that is only 1 millimeter thick, which is comparable to a credit card but with an area as large as a laptop computer. The thermal ground plane can be used as a stand-alone component or integrated in a printed circuit board connecting chips and other components, according to Yang.

A smaller thermal ground plane could be fabricated in the same way for use in a device such as a cell phone. Or, since the polymer material is flexible, it could be folded back and forth in a stack configuration although this would be a greater challenge, Yang said.

The polymer ground plane will encase a nanoscale wicking structure in which distilled water is alternately vaporized and condensed, as in a more conventional heat pipe, to remove heat from a laser diode, a microprocessor or a transceiver. The polymer will be coated with alumina through atomic layer deposition to provide a vapor barrier, which will maintain the water for long-time operation.

The technological innovation came about in a "perfect storm" of research interests coming together at CU-Boulder. "We have every piece of the puzzle here," Lee said.

Three CU faculty members who joined the university in 2006 established the core concept for the novel thermal ground plane: Yang, who brought expertise in nanostructured materials and heat transfer; Professor and Chancellor G.P. "Bud" Peterson, a world expert in heat pipes; and Research Assistant Professor Chen Li, who contributed to the heat transfer modeling and design.

Their concept matched well with the technologies already developed by CU professors Steven George, who patented atomic layer deposition coating technology; Victor Bright, a micro- and nanotechnology expert with years of experience working with DARPA; and Lee, an expert in micro- and nanoscale manufacturing and packaging technologies. Except for George, who is based in chemistry and chemical engineering, all of the other team members are faculty in mechanical engineering.

Lockheed Martin also has been a long-time partner in the research, having provided the first seed grant to improve atomic layer deposition for hydrophobic coating in 2002, a technology that is essential to the proposed thermal ground plane. "Lockheed Martin considers it a unique opportunity to benefit from CU researchers and incorporate their innovative thermal management solutions into future aerospace systems," said Suraj Rawal, senior manager for research in advanced materials and structures at Lockheed Martin Space Systems.

iMINT, which was established in fall 2006 with a DARPA grant managed by Dennis Polla, attracted nearly $1.5 million in government and industrial funding in its first year of operation. With the new contract, the center's research activities will be expanded to more than $2.5 million per year.

"This new thermal ground plane contract is a good example of how fundamental research conducted at the DARPA iMINT center can stimulate new system-level research for real-world applications and how industry sponsors such as Lockheed Martin can benefit from the expanded activities," Lee said.

Additional industry sponsors are being sought to participate in the thermal ground plane development as well as other engineering research projects.


About University of Colorado at Boulder
As the flagship university of the state of Colorado, CU-Boulder is a dynamic community of scholars and learners situated on one of the most spectacular college campuses in the country. As one of 34 U.S. public institutions belonging to the prestigious Association of American Universities (AAU) – and the only member in the Rocky Mountain region – we have a proud tradition of academic excellence, with four Nobel laureates and more than 50 members of prestigious academic academies.

CU-Boulder has blossomed in size and quality since we opened our doors in 1877 – attracting superb faculty, staff, and students and building strong programs in the sciences, engineering, business, law, arts, humanities, education, music, and many other disciplines.

For more information, please click here

Y.C. Lee, 303-492-3393
Ronggui Yang, 303-735-1003
Victor Bright, 303-735-1734
Carol Rowe, 303-492-7426

Copyright © University of Colorado at Boulder

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.

Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Organometallics welcomes new editor-in-chief: Paul Chirik, Ph.D. July 22nd, 2014

The Hiden EQP Plasma Diagnostic with on-board MCA July 22nd, 2014

Iran to Hold 3rd Int'l Forum on Nanotechnology Economy July 22nd, 2014

Nanometrics Announces Upcoming Investor Events July 22nd, 2014


NIST shows ultrasonically propelled nanorods spin dizzyingly fast July 22nd, 2014

Penn Study: Understanding Graphene’s Electrical Properties on an Atomic Level July 22nd, 2014

Oregon chemists eye improved thin films with metal substitution: Solution-based inorganic process could drive more efficient electronics and solar devices July 21st, 2014

More than glitter: Scientists explain how gold nanoparticles easily penetrate cells, making them useful for delivering drugs July 21st, 2014


Haydale Announces Collaboration Agreement with Swansea University’s Welsh Centre for Printing and Coatings (WCPC) July 12th, 2014

STFC takes delivery of the 100th Hitachi Tabletop SEM in the UK July 3rd, 2014

Innovation Management and the Emergence of the Nanobiotechnology Industry July 1st, 2014

Albany NanoCollege Faculty Member Selected as Editor-in-Chief of the Prestigious Journal of Electronic Materials July 1st, 2014

Chip Technology

Nanometrics Announces Upcoming Investor Events July 22nd, 2014

Penn Study: Understanding Graphene’s Electrical Properties on an Atomic Level July 22nd, 2014

NUS scientists use low cost technique to improve properties and functions of nanomaterials: By 'drawing' micropatterns on nanomaterials using a focused laser beam, scientists could modify properties of nanomaterials for effective applications in photonic and optoelectric applicat July 22nd, 2014

Dongbu HiTek Unveils Low-Voltage BCDMOS Process for Efficient Power Management in Smart Phones and Tablet Computers July 21st, 2014


Nanometrics Announces Upcoming Investor Events July 22nd, 2014

Bruker Awarded Fourth PeakForce Tapping Patent: AFM Mode Uniquely Combines Highest Resolution Imaging and Material Property Mapping July 22nd, 2014

NIST shows ultrasonically propelled nanorods spin dizzyingly fast July 22nd, 2014

Penn Study: Understanding Graphene’s Electrical Properties on an Atomic Level July 22nd, 2014


Researchers create vaccine for dust-mite allergies Main Page Content: Vaccine reduced lung inflammation to allergens in lab and animal tests July 22nd, 2014

EPFL Research on the use of AFM based nanoscale IR spectroscopy for the study of single amyloid molecules wins poster competition at Swiss Physics Society meeting July 22nd, 2014

Carbyne morphs when stretched: Rice University calculations show carbon-atom chain would go metal to semiconductor July 21st, 2014

Albany NanoCollege Faculty Member Selected as Editor-in-Chief of the Prestigious Journal of Electronic Materials July 1st, 2014

The latest news from around the world, FREE

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

Nanotechnology Now Featured Books


The Hunger Project

© Copyright 1999-2014 7th Wave, Inc. All Rights Reserved PRIVACY POLICY :: CONTACT US :: STATS :: SITE MAP :: ADVERTISE