Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Cool Electronics

Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Cool Electronics

Article excerpt

A University of California (UC), Riverside, engineering professor and a team of researchers have made a breakthrough discovery with graphene, a material that could play a major role in keeping laptops and other electronic devices from overheating.

Alexander Balandin, a professor of electrical engineering at the UC Riverside's Bourns College of Engineering, and researchers from The University of Texas (UT) at Austin, The University of Texas at Dallas, and Xiamen University in China, have shown that the thermal properties of isotopically engineered graphene are far superior to those of graphene in its natural state.

The research efforts were led by Rodney S. Ruoff, a professor at UT Austin, and Balandin and were published online in the journal Nature Materials.

The results bring grapheme--a single atom-thick carbon crystal with unique properties, including superior electrical and heat conductivity, mechanical strength, and unique optical absorption--one step closer to being used as a thermal conductor for managing heat dissipation in everything from electronics to photovoltaic solar cells to radars.

"The important finding is the possibility of a strong enhancement of thermal conduction properties of isotopically pure graphene without substantial alteration of electrical, optical, and other physical properties," Balandin says. "Isotopically pure graphene can become an excellent choice for many practical applications provided that the cost of the material is kept under control."

Balandin adds, "The experimental data on heat conduction in isotopically engineered graphene is also crucially important for developing an accurate theory of thermal conductivity in graphene and other two-dimensional [2-D] crystals."

The research used the optothermal Raman method, a thermal conductivity measuring technique developed by Balandin. In 2008, Balandin and his group members demonstrated experimentally that graphene is an excellent heat conductor. …

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