There is hope for a future in which computing devices could, theoretically, operate without the need for elaborate cooling techniques.
Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin said that a new form of graphene could essentially prevent laptops and other electronics from overheating and enable chip companies and device manufacturers to pack much more powerful chips into mobile devices.
Graphene, an atom-thick layer of carbon, typically consists of 98.9 percent 12C (carbon) and 1.1 percent 13C, but the graphene created by the University of Texas at Austin scientists represents 99.9 percent 12C and isotopically pure carbon. In their experiments, the material was 60 percent more effective at managing and transferring heat than normal graphene, the scientists said.
"This demonstration brings graphene a step closer to being used as a conductor for managing heat in a variety of devices. The potential of this material, and its promise for the electronic industry, is very exciting," said Rodney Ruoff, a physical chemist at the University's Cockrell School.
"Because self-heating of fast and densely packed devices deteriorates their performance, graphene's ability to conduct heat well will be very helpful in improving them," added Alexander Balandin, a professor of Electrical Engineering, chair of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of California Riverside and a corresponding author of the research paper published in the journal Nature Materials.
"Initially, graphene would likely be used in some niche applications, such as thermal interface materials for chip packaging or transparent electrodes in photovoltaic solar cells or flexible displays," he continued. "But, in a few years, the uses of graphene will be diverse, broad and far-reaching because the excellent heat conduction properties of this material are beneficial for all its proposed electronic applications."