Carbon Nanotube Heat Sink Could Turbo Boost Your Computer with 6X Less Heat

By: | February 19th, 2014

Overheating is one of the biggest problems that plagues computers. Random shutdowns and permanent damage to your hardware are just a couple of the tell-tale signs of an overheated computer. And we all know the annoying noise of internal fans whirring as they endlessly work to try and cool the computer.

A better heat sink can prevent microprocessors from overheating and maintain the temperature below a critical threshold and thereby maintain reliable operation. The heat sink is a device that attaches to a microprocessor to keep it from overheating by absorbing its heat and dissipating it into the air

Carbon nanotubes have long been known for amazing thermal conductivity but bonding them to hot metal interfaces like those on a CPU has been challenging. Now, Intel has teamed up with researchers from University of California, Berkeley, to create a carbon nanotubes (CNT) heat sink that could soon be used in computers. The team bonded the nanotubes to the metal layer at the top of a chip by using a thin layer of organic compounds.

The results were astonishing. Carbon nanotubes were able to conduct heat off the chip 6 times more effectively than a standard heat sink. This new bonding technique can even work with aluminum, silicon, gold and copper.

The team is currently investigating ways to ensure all the nanotubes are in contact with the chip’s metal layer at the same time to substantially increase the heat sink’s abilities.

Just imagine, once this new technology goes into new computers, there may never be a reason to replace the CPU due to overheating. No more burned thighs from your laptop, chilling pads underneath it or having your office sound like it’s about to take flight because your CPU fan is spinning as fast as a plane’s propeller.

Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

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