Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have made an important theoretical breakthrough in the understanding of energy dissipation and thermal breakdown in metallic carbon nanotubes. Their discovery will help move nanotube wires from laboratory to marketplace.
The remarkable electrical and mechanical properties of metallic carbon nanotubes make them promising candidates for interconnects in future nanoscale electronic devices. But, like tiny metal wires, nanotubes grow hotter as electrical current is increased. At some point, a nanotube will burn apart like an element in a blown fuse.
"Heat dissipation is a fundamental problem of electronic transport at the nanoscale," said Jean-Pierre Leburton, the Gregory Stillman Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Illinois and co-author of a paper published in the Dec. 21 issue of the journal Physical Review Letters. "To fully utilize nanotubes as interconnects, we must characterize them and understand their behavior and operating limits."
James E. Kloeppel | EurekAlert!
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