Thermal interface material boffins will expound the benefits of using diamond to improve the thermal conductivity of pastes and would go so far as to suggest they should be included in chip design as a way to move heat around. They are not wrong, as diamond does offer the best thermal conductivity but it has some drawbacks; namely the price of the high quality crystal required to cool effectively. Flaws in the diamond will prevent heat being conducted efficiently and strangely the less flaws the more expensive the diamond.
Researchers have come up with a new way to create boron arsenide crystals and have found that the thermal conductivity of these crystals approaches that of diamond and could theoretically cost significantly less. The conductivity of the crystals they have fabricated are roughly twice that of the copper or silicon carbide commonly used now. Even more interesting is that it is a semiconductor with a bandgap comparable to silicon, around 1.5 eV as well as having comparable thermal expansion coefficients.
Perhaps this material might see us being to consider larger 3D wafer designs? Check out more at Physics World.
"Researchers predicted that BAs should have a theoretical thermal conductivity as high as that of diamond (2200 W/m/K), which is the best heat conductor known, back in 2013. However, to reach this high value, high quality crystals are needed since defects and impurities dramatically degrade thermal properties."
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