A North Carolina
researcher has developed a more efficient, less expensive way of cooling
electronic devices—particularly devices that generate a lot of heat, such as
lasers and power devices.
The technique uses a heat spreader made of a copper-graphene composite,
which is 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 Jag Kasichainula, PhD,
an associate professor of materials science and engineering at NC State and
author of a paper on the research. Thermal conductivity is the rate at which a
material conducts heat.
In fact, Kasichainula found that the copper-graphene film’s thermal conductivity
allows it to cool approximately 25% 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.”
The paper, “Thermal Conductivity of Copper-Graphene Composite Films
Synthesized by Electrochemical Deposition with Exfoliated Graphene Platelets,”
is published in Metallurgical and Materials Transactions B.