Feeds

Georgia Tech touts polymer heatsink interface

Nanofibres survive 200°C temps

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Researchers at Georgia Tech say they've created a polymer that can improve the interface between silicon and heatsinks, and offers a long lifetime in terms of heating and cooling cycles.

In this release, the group led by assistant professor Baratunde Cola says they've created a polymer that operates as a heat conductor (rather than being an insulator, which is more normal for polymers), and can stand temperatures of up to 200°C.

It's also suitable for being fabricated onto devices like heatsinks, with good adhesion to surfaces, they say.

As IEEE Spectrum notes, once heat is drawn away from a device like a chip, dissipating it is most commonly a matter of getting enough cool air blown across the heatsink. That puts a premium on finding ways to better couple the device to the heatsink.

To turn a polymer into a heat conductor, the Georgia Tech release says, the researchers used an electropolymerisation process to create aligned nanofibres in the polymer, rather than the disordered state typical of polymers.

Polymer heatsink

Georgia Tech researcher Virendra Singh holding a test sample. Image: Candler Hobbs, Georgia Tech

This, however, leaves another obstacle to overcome: the crystalline structures that make the resulting polymers better heat conductors can also make them more brittle.

“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,” the release says. “Formation of the nanofibers produces an amorphous material with thermal conductivity of up to 4.4 watts per meter Kelvin at room temperature.”

To fabricate the material, the researchers covered an aluminium template containing tiny pores with an electrolyte containing “monomer precursors”. These were formed into hollow nanofibres by applying a voltage to the template. The electropolymerisation process then cross-links the nonfibres.

Either water or an adhesive can then be used to apply the resulting material to the target device.

“The new material could allow reliable thermal interfaces as thin as three microns – compared to as much as 50 to 75 microns with conventional material”, the release states.

Their work is published in Nature Nanotechnology, abstract here. ®

Remote control for virtualized desktops

More from The Register

next story
Renewable energy 'simply WON'T WORK': Top Google engineers
Windmills, solar, tidal - all a 'false hope', say Stanford PhDs
FORGET the CLIMATE: FATTIES are a MUCH BIGGER problem - study
Fat guy? Drink or smoke? You're worse than a TERRORIST
SEX BEAST SEALS may be egging each other on to ATTACK PENGUINS
Boffin: 'I think the behaviour is increasing in frequency'
HUMAN DNA 'will be FOUND ON MOON' – rockin' boffin Brian Cox
Crowdfund plan to stimulate Blighty's space programme
Post-pub nosh neckfiller: The MIGHTY Scotch egg
Off to the boozer? This delicacy might help mitigate the effects
I'M SO SORRY, sobs Rosetta Brit boffin in 'sexist' sexy shirt storm
'He is just being himself' says proud mum of larger-than-life physicist
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.