Graphene, twice threatened by silicon's atom-thick offspring silicene, the pretender to its carbon throne, has hit back with yet another amazing characteristic: transistors made from the atom-tick carbon mesh will cool themselves.
Heat is the bane of the electronics industry’s life. This blog post is being written on a laptop that is really too warm to live up to its own description, smartphones get so warm sometimes that it is hard to hold them next to your ear. Not so useful for making calls. Cooling datacentres is as expensive as kitting them out in the first place. And this is all because of heat.
Now scientists from the University of Illinois (incidentally the only state in the USA to regard Pluto as a planet) have determined that graphene’s thermoelectric cooling effect can be larger than its resistive heating, actually cooling the material down.
Discovering this effect was not simple. Graphene is so thin, making measurements of any of its properties is very tricky. In this case, the team, led by Mechanical science and engineering professor William King and electrical and computer engineering professor Eric Pop, used the tip of an atomic force microscope as a temperature probe to take the first ever nanoscale temperature measurements of a working graphene transistor.
Details from PhysOrg. The research is published here in the April 3 edition of Nature Nanotechnology.