A complete carbon-nanotube-based on-chip cooling solution with very high heat dissipation capacity
Journal article, 2012
Heat dissipation is one of the factors limiting the continuous miniaturization of electronics. In the study presented in this paper, we designed an ultra-thin heat sink using carbon nanotubes (CNTs) as micro cooling fins attached directly onto a chip. A metal-enhanced CNT transfer technique was utilized to improve the interface between the CNTs and the chip surface by minimizing the thermal contact resistance and promoting the mechanical strength of the microfins. In order to optimize the geometrical design of the CNT microfin structure, multi-scale modeling was performed. A molecular dynamics simulation (MDS) was carried out to investigate the interaction between water and CNTs at the nanoscale and a finite element method (FEM) modeling was executed to analyze the fluid field and temperature distribution at the macroscale. Experimental results show that water is much more efficient than air as a cooling medium due to its three orders-of-magnitude higher heat capacity. For a hotspot with a high power density of 5000 W cm(-2), the CNT microfins can cool down its temperature by more than 40 degrees C. The large heat dissipation capacity could make this cooling solution meet the thermal management requirement of the hottest electronic systems up to date.