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Nanomaterials Construction for Thermal Interface Materials
Keywords: Thermal interface materials, nanomaterials, carbon nanotubes
Power dissipation in electronic devices is projected to increase significantly over the next ten years for high performance applications. The key challenges in designing a thermal interface material (TIM) arise due to material properties of the TIM (matrix and filler), interfacial resistances which are a function of surface conditions (devices and heat-sinks or heat spreaders), and the assembly processes used to deposit the TIM and get it to the design point thickness. Comparing to typical TIM materials used in production today, nanomaterials such as carbon nanotudes (CNTs) are promising for exhibiting extraordinary thermal properties. There is little doubt that the extremely high thermal conductivity of CNTs offers the possibility of using CNTs as TIM in electronics packaging to satisfy the increasing power dissipation challenge. Here we describe a novel TIM solution using a hybrid materials system including various forms of nanomaterials. This TIM solution minimizes the thermal resistance between two solid surfaces, and can be useful for any applications requiring very high thermal dissipation by joining two solid surfaces. The novelty of this construction is that a single materials system encompasses the following features: (1) high bulk thermal conductivity close to theoretical limit of a composite containing CNTs, (2) readily deformable surfaces to form intimate contacts with solid surfaces of varying topological and roughness features, (3) variable thickness that can be minimized to a few microns, (4) mechanical robustness that meets the requirement for easy processing and application of TIM as well as long term stability for thermal cycling, and (5) high chemical stability therefore environmental and manufacturing friendliness. Individual features could be adjusted to optimize the overall performance of the TIM system.
Howard Wang, Associate Professor
Binghamton University
Binghamton, NY

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