The semiconductor industry has another thermal problem to sort out. As chip components shrink, the copper wiring that connects them must shrink, too. And as these wires get thinner, they heat up tremendously.
A sandwich made of graphene on both sides of a sheet of copper improves the copper’s ability to dissipate heat by 25 percent—a significant figure for chip designers.
Balandin says that the graphene itself doesn’t seem to conduct the heat away. Rather, it alters the structure of the copper, improving the metal’s conductive properties. Heat moving through copper is usually slowed by the crystalline structure of the metal. Graphene changes this structure, causing those walls to move farther apart, and allowing heat to flow more readily, says Balandin.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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