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Thermal Management Using Carbon Nanotubes

Oak Ridge National Laboratory

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Vertically Aligned Carbon Nanotubes
Vertically Aligned Carbon Nanotubes

Technology Marketing SummaryOptimal thermal management, especially in such cases as microelectronic packaging, requires thermal interface material with high heat carrying capacity. Although individual carbon nanotubes exhibit high thermal conductivity, aggregate forms of nanotubes lose this property due to processing that result from their aggregation.DescriptionScientists at ORNL have developed vertically aligned carbon nanotube arrays that yield extremely high thermal properties. The array can be vertically aligned multi-walled, double-walled, few-walled or single-walled carbon nanotubes. The nanotubes are spaced at optimal distances from one another to minimize thermal transfer losses thereby maximizing their collective thermal diffusivity. The growth rate of these vertically aligned carbon nanotube arrays can be adjusted and measured thereby providing a method of control over array fabrication. The method also includes annealing treatments to increase the crystalline properties of the vertically aligned carbon nanotubes.Benefits
  • High quality low cost nanostructured thermal interface materials
  • High thermal conductivities (600-1200 W/mK)
  • Anisotropic thermal properties
  • Zero thermal expansion, flexibility of nanotube arrays enables efficient thermal contact on thermal cycling
  • Thermal interface stability up to 750°C in air
  • Ability to be combined with conductive pastes, polymers, or resins
  • Conformable surfaces for good thermal contact to materials
  • Can be fabricated into specific shapes, patterns density and heights directly during manufacturing
Applications and Industries
  • Cooling of microelectronics
  • Structural cooling systems
  • LED displays
  • Signs
  • Photovoltaics
Patents and Patent Applications
ID Number
Title and Abstract
Primary Lab
Patent 7,763,353
Fabrication of high thermal conductivity arrays of carbon nanotubes and their composites
Methods and apparatus are described for fabrication of high thermal conductivity arrays of carbon nanotubes and their composites. A composition includes a vertically aligned nanotube array including a plurality of nanotubes characterized by a property across substantially all of the vertically aligned nanotube array. A method includes depositing a vertically aligned nanotube array that includes a plurality of nanotubes; and controlling a deposition rate of the vertically aligned nanotubes array as a function of an in situ monitored property of the plurality of nanotubes.
Oak Ridge National Laboratory 07/27/2010
Technology Status
Technology IDDevelopment StageAvailabilityPublishedLast Updated
PFTT ID#1487DevelopmentAvailable01/22/201002/02/2010

Contact ORNL About This Technology

To: Jennifer Tonzello Caldwell, Ph.D.<>