Scientists have discovered a new material that’s 150% more efficient in conducting heat than conventional materials that are used in advanced chip technologies.
The device is an ultrathin silicon nanowire that allows smaller, faster microelectronics with a heat transfer efficiency that dominates current technologies. Electronic devices powered by microchips that efficiently give up that heat would, in turn, absorb less energy and could help reduce the consumption of energy that’s produced by burning carbon-rich fossil fuels that have contributed to global warming.
Junqiao Wu said that “By overcoming silicon’s natural limitations in its capacity to conduct heat, our discovery tackles a hurdle in microchip engineering,.” He is the scientist who led the Physical Review Letters study reporting the new device. Wu is a scientist in the Materials Sciences Division and also a professor of materials science and engineering at UC Berkeley.
Roughly 92% of silicon consists of the isotope silicon-28, which consists of 14 protons and 14 neutrons, nearly 5% is silicon-29, and it weighs in at 14 protons and 15 neutrons, whereas just 3% are silicon-30 and is comparative heavyweight with 14 protons and 16 neutrons, as described by co-author Joel Ager, who holds the titles of senior scientist in Berkeley Lab’s Materials Sciences Division and also as an adjacent professor of materials science and engineering at UC Berkeley.
Experiments through Computational simulation at the University of Massachusetts Amherst under the supervision of Zlatan Aksamija, who is a leading expert on the thermal conductivity of nanowires, revealed that the lack of isotope “defects” of the present silicon-29 and silicon-30 prevents the phonons from escaping off the surface, where the silicon dioxide layer would dramatically slow down the photons. This afterward kept photons on track towards the direction of heat flow and therefore less “confused” within the silicon-28 nanowire’s “core.”