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Researchers combine copper and graphene for quicker, cheaper computer cooling

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A researcher at North Carolina State University has created a heat spreader made from a new graphene-copper compound that should enable electronic devices to stay cooler at cheaper prices.

Graphene from Wikimedia Commons
Graphene from Wikimedia Commons

In electronics heat is often the enemy, but research at North Carolina State University may have resulted in a way to keep things cool in a less-expensive manner than is currently possible. Dr. Jag Kasichainula achieved the feat by using graphene. Comprised of honeycombed carbon atoms, graphene is being utilized for a number of different breakthroughs and experiments; in this case it is combined with copper to create a composite heat spreader. The spreader then connects to the electronic device in question with a indium-graphene film. The higher thermal conductivity of both materials allows the composite spreader to draw heat away approximately 25 percent faster than commonly-used copper versions. Copper is also notoriously expensive, so reducing the amount required should also result in a solution that costs less than those currently implemented. Dr. Kasichainula's paper on the composite, published in Metallurgical and Materials Transactions B, also details the manufacturing process needed to create the material, so we'll be keeping a close eye on whether the process will be coming to market anytime soon.