Researchers have developed a new approach to cooling electronics using graphene nanoflakes, promising to overcome one of the major obstacles in further technology development.
Heat dissipation in electronics and optoelectronics is a major bottleneck in the further development of systems in these fields. In an article published in the latest issue of the journal Nature Communications, a team from Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden described experiments in which they managed to increase the efficiency of heat transfer by 76 per cent.
“Essentially, we have found a golden key with which to achieve efficient heat transport in electronics and other power devices by using a graphene nanoflake-based film,” said Johan Liu, Professor of Electronics Production at Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden. “This can open up potential uses of this kind of film in broad areas and we are getting closer to pilot-scale production based on this discovery.”
The graphene-based film was further enhanced by adding functionalised amino-based and azide-based silane molecules.
In simulations, the researchers observed how the functional layer constrained the cross-plane scattering of low-frequency phonons, which in turn enhances in-plane heat-conduction of the bonded film.
“This is the first time that such systematic research has been done,” Liu said. “The present work is much more extensive than previously published results from several involved partners and it covers more functionalisation molecules and also more extensive direct evidence of the thermal contact resistance measurement.”
In the research, scientists studied a number of molecules that were immobilised at the interfaces and at the edge of graphene nanoflake-based sheets forming covalent bonds. They also probed interface thermal resistance by using a photo-thermal reflectance measurement technique to demonstrate an improved thermal coupling due to functionalisation.
The results suggested potential thermal management solutions for electronic devices.