Two Rice University researchers have developed 3D white graphene structures that could successfully keep temperatures down in electronics.
A major problem that plagues most electronics nowadays is overheating. And as gadgets are getting smaller and smaller, minimizing overheating in their pieces is a priority in tech development. Until recently, graphene, a delicate web of Carbon atoms that is only one atom wide, was believed to be the best possible material for the job.
However, the Rice University researchers have come up with an even more effective solution by using a similar material, hexagonal boron nitride (BN), commonly known as white graphene, because it is also one atom wide in its 2D form. While graphene is entirely made up of Carbon atoms, white graphene includes boron and nitrogen atoms.
Rouzbeh Shahsavari and Navid Sakhavand, the two scientists from Rice University, wanted to develop a structure that would somehow be superior to that made out of graphene layers, put one on top of the other and glued into position, this being the graphene breakthrough.
They explained that while one layer of graphene is a good heat conductor, several layers of it are in fact more powerful, but that the heat penetrates the successive layers with quite a bit of difficulty. Therefore, they wanted to find a way to overcome this particular issue.
Their sollution was to use 2D white graphene layers and connect them to one another by using cylindrical white graphene nanotubules. This way the heat can pass through the same material, but through differently shaped layers.
They have used white graphene models to find the optimum shape and size for the nanotubules and ultimately their 3D white graphene structure has proven superior to the multi layered graphene one. Another property bore by white graphene that has contributed to its superiority is the fact that it is an effective barrier for electricity.
Graphene is a very good conductor, which makes it suitable for certain technologies, but the boron nitride structure is an insulator, which means that it could be used in different models.
“This type of 3-D thermal-management system can open up opportunities for thermal switches, or thermal rectifiers, where the heat flowing in one direction can be different than the reverse direction” said Rouzbeh Shahsavari.
The Rice University research project was recently published in the scientific journal Applied Materials and Interfaces and it stands to bring about some significant improvements in the technological world.
Image Source: images.iop.orge