Sep 20, 2021

Nano-scale discovery could help to cool down overheating in electronics

Posted by in categories: nanotechnology, physics

A team of physicists at CU Boulder has solved the mystery behind a perplexing phenomenon in the nano realm: why some ultra-small heat sources cool down faster if you pack them closer together. The findings, published today in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), could one day help the tech industry design faster electronic devices that overheat less.

“Often, is a challenging consideration in designing electronics. You build a device then discover that it’s heating up faster than desired,” said study co-author Joshua Knobloch, postdoctoral research associate at JILA, a joint research institute between CU Boulder and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). “Our goal is to understand the fundamental physics involved so we can engineer future devices to efficiently manage the flow of heat.”

The research began with an unexplained observation: In 2,015 researchers led by physicists Margaret Murnane and Henry Kapteyn at JILA were experimenting with bars of metal that were many times thinner than the width of a human hair on a silicon base. When they heated those bars up with a laser, something strange occurred.

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