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There is a more efficient, less expensive way to cooling electronic devices – particularly devices that generate a lot of heat, such as lasers and power devices.

The new technique uses a “heat spreader” made of a copper-graphene composite, which attaches to the electronic device using an indium-graphene interface film where “both the copper-graphene and indium-graphene have higher thermal conductivity, allowing the device to cool efficiently,” said Dr. Jag Kasichainula, an associate professor of materials science and engineering at North Carolina State University and author of a paper on the subject. Thermal conductivity is the rate at which a material conducts heat.

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Kasichainula found the copper-graphene film’s thermal conductivity allows it to cool 25 percent faster than pure copper, which is what most devices currently use.

Dissipating heat from electronic devices is important, because the devices become unreliable when they become too hot.

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The paper also lays out the manufacturing process for creating the copper-graphene composite, using an electrochemical deposition process.

“The copper-graphene composite is also low-cost and easy to produce,” Kasichainula said. “Copper is expensive, so replacing some of the copper with graphene actually lowers the overall cost.”

The paper, “Thermal Conductivity of Copper-Graphene Composite Films Synthesized by Electrochemical Deposition with Exfoliated Graphene Platelets,” appears in Metallurgical and Materials Transactions B.

Click here if you want to purchase a copy of the paper.

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