Enhanced Graphene Could Lead To Better, Smaller Electronics
January 9, 2012

Enhanced Graphene Could Lead To Better, Smaller Electronics

A team of U.S. and Chinese researchers are claiming that they have developed a new type of graphene that could prevent laptops and other electronic devices from overheating.

Mechanical and electrical engineers from the University of Texas at Austin and the University of California - Riverside, along with colleagues from the University of Texas at Dallas and Xiamen University in China, have demonstrated that the thermal properties of isotopically engineered graphene far surpassed those of the carbon allotrope when in its natural state, according to a pair of press releases published this week by the educational institutions.

According to UC-Riverside, Alexander Balandin and his colleagues used what is known as the optothermal Raman method, a technique of measuring thermal conductivity that he helped pioneer, to test the heat conduction quality of both forms of graphene.

The researchers found that the graphene they created was 60% more effective at managing and transferring heat than the naturally occurring variety, according to the University of Texas.

Those results, representatives from UC-Riverside report, bring the single-atom thick carbon crystal one step closer to being usable as a thermal conductor for managing heat dissipation in a variety of products, ranging from consumer electronics to even photovoltaic solar cells and radars -- making them potentially smaller and more powerful in the process.

"The potential of this material, and its promise for the electronic industry, is very exciting," University of Texas at Austin professor and physical chemist Rodney S. Ruoff said in a statement.

The study was published online Sunday at the website of the journal Nature Materials. It is currently scheduled for publication in the print version of the journal at a later date.

"The important finding is the possibility of a strong enhancement of thermal conduction properties of isotopically pure graphene without substantial alteration of electrical, optical and other physical properties," Balandin said in a separate statement.

"Isotopically pure graphene can become an excellent choice for many practical applications provided that the cost of the material is kept under control," he added. He added: "The experimental data on heat conduction in isotopically engineered graphene is also crucially important for developing an accurate theory of thermal conductivity in graphene and other two-dimensional crystals."


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