Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Nanotubes act as ’thermal Velcro’ to reduce computer-chip heating

04.05.2006


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
Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; purduenews@purdue.edu

Emil Venere | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.purdue.edu

More articles from Materials Sciences:

nachricht Research finds new molecular structures in boron-based nanoclusters
13.07.2018 | Brown University

nachricht 3D-Printing: Support structures to prevent vibrations in post-processing of thin-walled parts
12.07.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Produktionstechnologie IPT

All articles from Materials Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

Im Focus: Chemical reactions in the light of ultrashort X-ray pulses from free-electron lasers

Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.

Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Subaru Telescope helps pinpoint origin of ultra-high energy neutrino

16.07.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Barium ruthenate: A high-yield, easy-to-handle perovskite catalyst for the oxidation of sulfides

16.07.2018 | Life Sciences

New research calculates capacity of North American forests to sequester carbon

16.07.2018 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>