How to cool electronic devices more efficiently

April 10, 2012

(credit: stock image)

A North Carolina State University researcher has developed a more efficient, less expensive way of cooling electronic devices: use a “heat spreader” made of a copper-graphene composite, attached to the electronic device using an indium-graphene interface film.

“Both the copper-graphene and indium-graphene have higher thermal conductivity, allowing the device to cool efficiently,” says Dr. Jag Kasichainula, an associate professor of materials science and engineering at NC State. Thermal conductivity is the rate at which a material conducts heat.

The copper-graphene film’s thermal conductivity allows it to cool approximately 25 percent faster than pure copper, which is what most devices currently use. Dissipating heat from electronic devices is important, because the devices become unreliable when they become too hot.

The paper also lays out the manufacturing process for creating the copper-graphene composite, using an electrochemical deposition process. “The copper-graphene composite is also low-cost and easy to produce,” Kasichainula says. “Copper is expensive, so replacing some of the copper with graphene actually lowers the overall cost.”

Ref.: K. Jagannadham. Thermal Conductivity of Copper-Graphene Composite Films Synthesized by Electrochemical Deposition with Exfoliated Graphene Platelets. Metallurgical and Materials Transactions B, 2011; 43 (2): 316 DOI: 10.1007/s11663-011-9597-z.

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