Deakin University scientists have developed a new boron nitride (BN) solution to tackle overheating in foldable phones, wearables and miniaturized devices.
The breakthrough was based on a collaboration between Deakin’s Institute for Frontier Materials (IFM) and researchers from Northern Ireland and Japan.
According to IFM researchers Dr Luhua Li and Dr Qiran Cai, heat management has become more and more critical in miniaturized modern devices.
“You can feel and hear when your device is overheating and not working efficiently, when your phone gets hot to the touch or your laptop’s internal fan kicks into overdrive,” says Li.
“With increasing demand in miniaturization and emerging technology such as foldable phones, micro-machines and wearable devices, thermal cooling has become critical for the performance, reliability, longevity, and safety of various products.”
Li points out that scientists have been proposing diamond and boron arsenide as potential replacements for aluminium and copper, but these are too rigid and inflexible, as well as exorbitantly expensive for mainstream use.
The Deakin team has instead chosen boron nitride (BN) and by shaving it down to an atomically-thin level, has managed to imbue the material with the desired flexibility while dramatically increasing its thermal conductivity and cooling capabilities.
“Atomically thin BN has better thermal conductivity than most semiconductors and insulators, along with low density, outstanding strength, high flexibility and stretchability, good stability, and excellent impermeability, making them a promising material for heat dissipation on next generation devices,” contends Li.
“It has almost double the thermal conductivity of copper – 750 W/mK at room temperature compared to copper’s 385 W/mK – which means it’s twice as effective when it comes to heat flow and energy transfer.”
Li is quick to note that their’s is a fundamental breakthrough, but with time and further research it could help open up new boundaries of what’s possible in electronic devices.
Image courtesy and content: IndustryUpdate/Deakin University