Atomically Thin Heat Shield for Electronic Devices

Atomically Thin Heat Shield for Electronic Devices

Thermal management is important in electronic devices. Significant amount of heat may shorten the working life and decrease reliability of devices if not properly administered. Most common systems used for thermal insulation involve glass, plastic, or even air through separation of the components. However, these methods all add space and can be a problem for smaller devices.

Researchers from Stanford University propose a design of atomically thin heat shields that could be up to 50,000 times thinner than current insulating materials. The researchers have shown that a few layers of atomically thin materials, stacked like sheets of paper atop hot spots, can provide the same insulation as a sheet of glass 100 times thicker. The heat we feel from smartphones or laptops is an inaudible form of high-frequency sound. When electrons move, they collide with the atoms of the materials through which they pass. With each such collision an electron causes an atom to vibrate, and the more current flows, the more collisions occur which generates heat energy.

In the future, thinner heat shields will enable the production of even more compact electronic devices or allow engineers to pack more components in a small device to increase its capability. Furthermore, this technology can also be applied in other fields as well.

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