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Communications of the ACM

ACM TechNews

Hot New Material Can Keep Electronics Cool

UC Riverside Professor Alexander Balandin

Graphene has excellent thermal properties in addition to unique electronic characteristics, says UC Riverside Professor Alexander Balandin.

Credit: University of California, Riverside

University of California, Riverside researchers led by professor Alexander Balandin have developed technology that could keep laptops and other electronics from overheating.

Balandin's team found that multiple layers of graphene are easier to make than single atomic layers of the material but still retain its strong heat conducting properties. In addition to experimental measurements, Balandin's team described theoretically how the material's ability to conduct heat evolves when switching from conventional three-dimensional bulk materials to two-dimensional atomically-thin films such as graphene.

New approaches to managing heat in electronics include using materials with superior thermal properties, such as graphene, in silicon chips. Graphene is not a replacement for silicon, but could be used in conjunction with it, Balandin says. At first, graphene would be used in niche applications, but eventually it could be used with silicon in computer chips or for applications in ultra-fast transistors for radio-frequency communications, he says.

From University of California, Riverside
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