Scientists Develop Ultra-Thin Diamond Membranes for Efficient Chip Cooling

Experts from the German network of Fraunhofer institutes have developed a technology for mass production of diamond membranes to enhance heat dissipation from electronic components. These diamond membranes serve as a heat conductor between chips and radiators, preventing current leakage and short circuits. Tests showed that diamond membranes cool chips considerably more efficiently, potentially speeding up the charging of electric vehicles by five times.

“We aim to replace this intermediate layer [thermal interface] with our diamond nanomembrane, which is extremely efficient in transferring heat to media because the diamond can be integrated into current-carrying tracks,” explained Matthias Mühle, a scientist involved in the project. “Since our membrane is flexible and detachable, it can be placed anywhere on the component or media or directly embedded in the cooling circuit.”

Diamond heat distributors aren’t a novelty and are progressively finding applications, yet they usually measure more than 2 mm thick, complicating their attachment to electronic circuit components. The proposed nanomembranes have a thickness of just 1 µm. They are flexible and can be attached to electronic components by heating to a mere 80 °C. The researchers fabricated the nanomembranes by growing polycrystalline diamond over silicon wafers. To achieve the desired contours of the diamond thermal interface, the wafers are then etched, and the membranes are detached.

According to the developers’ estimates, diamond nanomembranes can reduce the thermal load on electronic components by a factor of 10, inevitably enhancing the energy efficiency and lifespan of both the components and the devices overall. The team stated that if the membranes were incorporated into electric vehicle charging systems, they could potentially increase the recharge speed fivefold. The ability to create membranes on silicon substrates also means that setting up their mass production will pose little difficulty. A corresponding patent application has already been submitted. We await the testing of these new heat dissipation solutions in inverters for charging electric vehicles and other electronics.

Related Posts