Nanoscale Conformable Thermal Interface Materials with Electronically Enhanced Heat Conduction

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Department of Defense
Air Force
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Phase I
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Small Business Information
411 Wolf Ledges Parkway, Suite 105, Akron, OH, 44311-
Hubzone Owned:
Minority Owned:
Woman Owned:
Principal Investigator:
Ali Dhinojwala
(330) 972-6246
Business Contact:
Sunny Sethi
Program Manager
(330) 701-5983
Research Institution:
The University of Akron
Ali Dhinojwala
Goodyear Polymer Center
170 University Avenue
Akron, OH, 44325-
(330) 972-6246
Nonprofit college or university
ABSTRACT: Thermal management has become a critical factor in designing the next generation of microprocessors. The current technology is unable to meet the increasing demands. Carbon nanotubes (CNT) have excellent heat transport; however, the heat transport across the interface continues to be a challenging hurdle. Here, we have drawn a connection between heat transfer, electronic conduction, and adhesion to propose a solution based on gecko-inspired carbon nanotube adhesives. Geckos use micron-size hairs to stick to surfaces without the use of any glue. These gecko-inspired adhesives stick to surfaces using van der Waals (vdW) interactions. The thin-walled CNT developed for improving adhesion are extremely compliant and conform to the topography of the substrate. The compliance is extremely important in increasing the contact area by at least a factor of two with pressure. We anticipate that these increase in contact area is also critical for electronic and heat transfer across the interface. In phase I, we will test the heat transfer and electronic properties of these thin-walled CNT''s based on the fundamental understanding of its relationship with actual contact area and adhesion. Additionally, we will develop an actual prototype to test these materials as heat sinks on processors. BENEFIT: The continued increase in speed of the microprocessors and the need to dissipate heat from these devices has imposed serious road blocks in designing future processors. The technology developed at Akron and Rice, inspired by geckos, offers the possibility of improving the heat transfer across the interface using soft and compliable carbon nanotubes. ADAP Nanotech is Start-up Company founded by the PI''s who have developed the gecko-inspired carbon nanotube adhesives. This new company has the support of the University of Akron, Research Foundation, and local business agencies, such as Glide and Jump-Start, to commercialize this technology. We anticipate the benefits of this technology in the areas of dry adhesives, thermal interface materials, coatings, and nanocomposites.

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