Graphene: Hot new material for cooling gadgets?


Smaller, faster gadgets may be cool, but keeping them from getting too hot poses challenges.

Consumer electronics, of course, contain many sources of heat, including interconnecting wiring and millions of transistors. In the past, bigger and bigger fans have been employed to keep chips from overheating, thus expanding a gadget's lifespan. But as electronics continue to shrink, so does the space where fans can be placed.

Enter graphene, a sheet of densely arranged carbon that's just a single atom thick and boasts strong heat-conducting properties. Researchers at UC Riverside's Nano-Device Laboratory have discovered a way to layer the recently discovered material so that it could one day be incorporated into silicon computer chips to make them better at dissipating heat.

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