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MM13.07 - Toward Carbon Nanotube Based Thermal Interface Materials 
December 4, 2014   11:00am - 11:15am

Effective heat removal from electronics is increasingly important as voltage, current, and frequency scale to increase grid efficiency. Without an efficient thermal interface material (TIM) between devices and their packaging material, the advantages of advanced power electronics are obscured due to the performance and lifetime reductions that occur with increasing temperatures. Vertically aligned multiwall carbon nanotube array-based TIMs are a promising alternative to conventional metal/epoxy-based TIMs because of the large thermal conductivity of multiwall carbon nanotubes (MWNTs) and the ability to eliminate the epoxy, a major thermal bottleneck. We are developing MWNT-based TIMs from untangled arrays of vertically-aligned nanotubes grown by thermal chemical vapor deposition (CVD) from catalysts embedded in the pores of anodized aluminum oxide templates directly on a heat-sink packaging material. The arrays have controllable geometry, can be planarized to facilitate thermal contact to heat-producing device surfaces, and have nanotubes that exhibit higher crystalline quality than those grown via plasma-enhanced CVD, as typically reported in nanotube TIM research. In this work we prepare MWNT arrays and study the effect of post-annealing to further improve MWNT crystalline quality, as evidenced by Raman spectroscopy. Scanning probe measurements on individual nanotubes correlate the resulting electrical and thermal transport properties with annealing conditions. Thermal conductivity measurements of MWNT arrays and device cooling tests are currently underway. 

This work is supported by the Laboratory Directed Research and Development program at Sandia National Laboratories. Sandia National Laboratories is a multi-program laboratory managed and operated by Sandia Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Lockheed Martin Corporation, for the U.S. Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration under contract DE-AC04-94AL85000.

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