Thermal Management of Solid-State Devices Using Nanotechnology
Future NASA programs will utilize solid-state devices (e.g., detectors, processors) that require cooling. Thermal management is of critical importance for a variety of solid-state devices. As the size of solid-state devices continues to shrink, device performance and reliability is limited by the ability to remove the increasing density of heat generated within these components. Furthermore, other devices such as solid-state lasers and infrared cameras require cooling and active temperature control. We propose two complimentary approaches to address these issues. The first approach is to develop thermoelectric (TE) coolers using nanotechnology. Thermoelectric materials require high electrical conductivity, but low thermal conductivity. Using nanotchnology it should be possible to significantly suppress the thermal conductivity without a corresponding reduction in electron transport. The second approach we propose is to enhance the thermal contact conductance at interfaces by taking advantage of nanotechnology.
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