Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors





Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


android tablet pc

Home > Press > Heat-conducting polymer cools hot electronic devices at 200 degrees C

This scanning electron microscope image shows vertical polythiophene nanofiber arrays grown on a metal substrate. The arrays contained either solid fibers or hollow tubes, depending on the diameter of the pores used to grow them.

Credit: Virendra Singh
This scanning electron microscope image shows vertical polythiophene nanofiber arrays grown on a metal substrate. The arrays contained either solid fibers or hollow tubes, depending on the diameter of the pores used to grow them.

Credit: Virendra Singh

Abstract:
Polymer materials are usually thermal insulators. But by harnessing an electropolymerization process to produce aligned arrays of polymer nanofibers, researchers have developed a thermal interface material able to conduct heat 20 times better than the original polymer. The modified material can reliably operate at temperatures of up to 200 degrees Celsius.

Heat-conducting polymer cools hot electronic devices at 200 degrees C

Atlanta, GA | Posted on March 31st, 2014

The new thermal interface material could be used to draw heat away from electronic devices in servers, automobiles, high-brightness LEDs and certain mobile devices. The material is fabricated on heat sinks and heat spreaders and adheres well to devices, potentially avoiding the reliability challenges caused by differential expansion in other thermally-conducting materials.

"Thermal management schemes can get more complicated as devices get smaller," said Baratunde Cola, an assistant professor in the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. "A material like this, which could also offer higher reliability, could be attractive for addressing thermal management issues. This material could ultimately allow us to design electronic systems in different ways."

The research, which was supported by the National Science Foundation, was reported March 30 in the advance online publication of the journal Nature Nanotechnology. The project involved researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology, University of Texas at Austin, and the Raytheon Company. Virendra Singh, a research scientist in the Woodruff School, and Thomas Bougher, a Ph.D. student in the Woodruff School, are the paper's co-first authors.

Amorphous polymer materials are poor thermal conductors because their disordered state limits the transfer of heat-conducting phonons. That transfer can be improved by creating aligned crystalline structures in the polymers, but those structures - formed through a fiber drawing processes - can leave the material brittle and easily fractured as devices expand and contract during heating and cooling cycles.

The new interface material is produced from a conjugated polymer, polythiophene, in which aligned polymer chains in nanofibers facilitate the transfer of phonons - but without the brittleness associated with crystalline structures, Cola explained. Formation of the nanofibers produces an amorphous material with thermal conductivity of up to 4.4 watts per meter Kelvin at room temperature.

The material has been tested up to 200 degrees Celsius, a temperature that could make it useful for applications in vehicles. Solder materials have been used for thermal interfaces between chips and heat sinks, but may not be reliable when operated close to their reflow temperatures.

"Polymers aren't typically thought of for these applications because they normally degrade at such a low temperature," Cola explained. "But these conjugated polymers are already used in solar cells and electronic devices, and can also work as thermal materials. We are taking advantage of the fact that they have a higher thermal stability because the bonding is stronger than in typical polymers."

The structures are grown in a multi-step process that begins with an alumina template containing tiny pores covered by an electrolyte containing monomer precursors. When an electrical potential is applied to the template, electrodes at the base of each pore attract the monomers and begin forming hollow nanofibers. The amount of current applied and the growth time control the length of the fibers and the thickness of their walls, while the pore size controls the diameter. Fiber diameters range from 18 to 300 nanometers, depending on the pore template.

After formation of the monomer chains, the nanofibers are cross-linked with an electropolymerization process, and the template removed. The resulting structure can be attached to electronic devices through the application of a liquid such as water or a solvent, which spreads the fibers and creates adhesion through capillary action and van der Waals forces.

"With the electrochemical polymerization processing approach that we took, we were able to align the chains of the polymer, and the template appears to prevent the chains from folding into crystals so the material remained amorphous," Cola explained. "Even though our material is amorphous from a crystalline standpoint, the polymer chains are highly aligned - about 40 percent in some of our samples."

Though the technique still requires further development and is not fully understood theoretically, Cola believes it could be scaled up for manufacturing and commercialization. The new material could allow reliable thermal interfaces as thin as three microns - compared to as much as 50 to 75 microns with conventional materials.

"There are some challenges with our solution, but the process is inherently scalable in a fashion similar to electroplating," he said. "This material is well known for its other applications, but ours is a different use."

Engineers have been searching for an improved thermal interface material that could help remove heat from electronic devices. The problem of removing heat has worsened as devices have gotten both smaller and more powerful.

Rather than pursue materials because of their high thermal conductivity, Cola and his collaborators investigated materials that could provide higher levels of contact in the interface. That's because in some of the best thermal interface materials, less than one percent of the material was actually making contact.

"I stopped thinking so much about the thermal conductivity of the materials and started thinking about what kinds of materials make really good contact in an interface," Cola said. He decided to pursue polythiophene materials after reading a paper describing a "gecko foot" application in which the material provided an estimated 80 percent contact.

Samples of the material have been tested to 200 degrees Celsius through 80 thermal cycles without any detectable difference in performance. While further work will be necessary to understand the mechanism, Cola believes the robustness results from adhesion of the polymer rather than a bonding.

"We can have contact without a permanent bond being formed," he said. "It's not permanent, so it has a built-in stress accommodation. It slides along and lets the stress from thermal cycling relax out."

In addition to those already mentioned, co-authors of the paper included Professor Kenneth Sandhage, Research Scientist Ye Cai, Assistant Professor Asegun Henry and graduate assistant Wei Lv of Georgia Tech; Prof. Li Shi, Annie Weathers, Kedong Bi, Micheal T. Pettes and Sally McMenamin in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin; and Daniel P. Resler, Todd Gattuso and David Altman of the Raytheon Company.

A patent application has been filed on the material. Cola has formed a startup company, Carbice Nanotechnologies, to commercialize thermal interface technologies. It is a member of Georgia Tech's VentureLab program.

###

This research was supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) through award CBET-113071, a seed grant from the Georgia Tech Center for Organic Photonics and Electronics and an NSF-IGERT graduate fellowship. Any conclusions or opinions are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the NSF.

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
John Toon

404-894-6986

Copyright © Georgia Institute of Technology

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 Links

CITATION: Virenda Singh, et al., "High thermal conductivity of chain-oriented amorphous polythiophene," (Nature Nanotechnology, 2014):

Related News Press

News and information

NanoTechnology for Defense (NT4D) October 22nd, 2014

Mechanism behind nature's sparkles revealed October 22nd, 2014

TARA Biosystems and Harris & Harris Group Form Company to Improve Safety and Efficacy of New Therapies October 22nd, 2014

Researchers patent a nanofluid that improves heat conductivity October 22nd, 2014

Display technology/LEDs/SS Lighting/OLEDs

QD Vision Wins Prestigious Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency October 16th, 2014

Beyond LEDs: Brighter, new energy-saving flat panel lights based on carbon nanotubes - Planar light source using a phosphor screen with highly crystalline single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) as field emitters demonstrates its potential for energy-efficient lighting device October 14th, 2014

Aledia’s Nanowire LED Technology Endorsed By 2014 Physics Nobel Prize Winner: Hiroshi Amano Serves on Company’s Scientific Advisory Board October 13th, 2014

'Greener,' low-cost transistor heralds advance in flexible electronics September 24th, 2014

Hardware

3DXNano™ ESD Carbon Nanotube 3D Printing Filament - optimized for demanding 3D printing applications in the semi-con and electronics industry October 16th, 2014

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Materials for the next generation of electronics and photovoltaics: MacArthur Fellow develops new uses for carbon nanotubes October 21st, 2014

Special UO microscope captures defects in nanotubes: University of Oregon chemists provide a detailed view of traps that disrupt energy flow, possibly pointing toward improved charge-carrying devices October 21st, 2014

Super stable garnet ceramics may be ideal for high-energy lithium batteries October 21st, 2014

Could I squeeze by you? Ames Laboratory scientists model molecular movement within narrow channels of mesoporous nanoparticles October 21st, 2014

Chip Technology

Materials for the next generation of electronics and photovoltaics: MacArthur Fellow develops new uses for carbon nanotubes October 21st, 2014

Nitrogen Doped Graphene Characterized by Iranian, Russian, German Scientists October 21st, 2014

Crystallizing the DNA nanotechnology dream: Scientists have designed the first large DNA crystals with precisely prescribed depths and complex 3D features, which could create revolutionary nanodevices October 20th, 2014

Imaging electric charge propagating along microbial nanowires October 20th, 2014

Discoveries

Mechanism behind nature's sparkles revealed October 22nd, 2014

Researchers patent a nanofluid that improves heat conductivity October 22nd, 2014

‘Designer’ nanodevice could improve treatment options for cancer sufferers October 22nd, 2014

Detecting Cancer Earlier is Goal of Rutgers-Developed Medical Imaging Technology: Rare earth nanocrystals and infrared light can reveal small cancerous tumors and cardiovascular lesions October 21st, 2014

Announcements

NanoTechnology for Defense (NT4D) October 22nd, 2014

Mechanism behind nature's sparkles revealed October 22nd, 2014

TARA Biosystems and Harris & Harris Group Form Company to Improve Safety and Efficacy of New Therapies October 22nd, 2014

Researchers patent a nanofluid that improves heat conductivity October 22nd, 2014

Interviews/Book Reviews/Essays/Reports/Podcasts/Journals

Mechanism behind nature's sparkles revealed October 22nd, 2014

Special UO microscope captures defects in nanotubes: University of Oregon chemists provide a detailed view of traps that disrupt energy flow, possibly pointing toward improved charge-carrying devices October 21st, 2014

Could I squeeze by you? Ames Laboratory scientists model molecular movement within narrow channels of mesoporous nanoparticles October 21st, 2014

Detecting Cancer Earlier is Goal of Rutgers-Developed Medical Imaging Technology: Rare earth nanocrystals and infrared light can reveal small cancerous tumors and cardiovascular lesions October 21st, 2014

Patents/IP/Tech Transfer/Licensing

Researchers patent a nanofluid that improves heat conductivity October 22nd, 2014

Nanodevices for clinical diagnostic with potential for the international market: The development is based on optical principles and provides precision and allows saving vital time for the patient October 15th, 2014

Aculon Receives Patent for Application of Enhanced Bonding Layers on Titanium October 9th, 2014

harmaEngine will join Nanobiotix’ pivotal trial for NBTXR3 in Soft Tissue Sarcoma to accelerate its development in Asia-Pacific: PharmaEngine to make milestone payment to Nanobiotix in October 2014 to recognize the value created October 8th, 2014

Automotive/Transportation

Production of Anticorrosive Chromate Nanocoatings in Iran September 27th, 2014

Teijin Aramid’s carbon nanotube fibers awarded with Paul Schlack prize: New generation super fibers bring wave of innovations to fiber market September 25th, 2014

Next-Gen Luxury RV From Global Caravan Technologies Will Offer MagicView Roof and Windshield Using SPD-SmartGlass Technology From Research Frontiers: Recreational Vehicle Manufacturer Global Caravan Technologies (GCT) Features 28 Square Feet of MagicView™ SPD-SmartGlass September 17th, 2014

Toward making lithium-sulfur batteries a commercial reality for a bigger energy punch September 17th, 2014

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







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