How ‘white graphene’ can cool electronics

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An important step in building more advanced electronic systems is keeping circuits and devices cool to avoid over-heating. Now a new technology could provide B2B firms with a technique to overcome this challenge, and the answer could be boron nitride, also known as  “white graphene.”

Graphene is an ultra- thin material (one atom thick) and is highly conducive at conducting electricity. The material is strong , very flexible and has been used from coating power plants, to making flexible computing screens to filtering out contaminants from water.

Boron nitride has been dubbed “white graphene” by some researchers because it shares similar properties, although it isn’t “graphene” because it is not carbon based. The material is made up of equal numbers of boron and nitrogen atoms. The compound has excellent thermal and chemical stability and is a very strong conductor of heat.

Researchers based at Rice University have used these principles to develop a theoretical model to show how a three dimensional lattice of boron nitride could be deployed as a tunable material to control heat flow in electronic devices.

By being three-dimensional, boron nitride can conduct heat in any direction. With most circuits, heat moves in one direction. The multiple heat directing properties of boron nitride provide greater opportunities to ‘cool’ down electronic devices. This can be controlled further by building pillars of boron nitride of differing shapes and thickness.

Based on the theoretical properties, research will begin on developing practical models to test out the properties as part of the development of next-generation electronics. B2B tech firms in the chips and electronics market should be keeping updated with these developments.

The research has been published in the journal Applied Materials and Interfaces. The paper is titled “Dimensional Crossover of Thermal Transport in Hybrid Boron Nitride Nanostructures.”

This article originally appeared on Digital Journal, written by Tim Sandle. Reprinted with permission.

Photo via UC Santa Barbara

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