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New Method for Increasing Heat Transfer Rate Has Far-Reaching Implications

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Scientists at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering in Troy, New York have developed a new method for increasing the heat transfer rate across two different materials.

This method might advance LED devices, collecting solar power, harvesting waste heat, and cooling computer chips. The study was funded with support from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the findings were published in the journal Nature Materials.

A host of technologies employ heat transfer, and as computer chips become smaller and smaller and more and more complex, new methods are needed to remove excess heat from semiconductors, which, in turn, increases performance and reliability.

In photovoltaic devices, for example, more efficient heat transfer leads to more efficient conversion of sunlight to electrical power. LED makers are also searching for a way to make their devices more efficient and to reduce the amount of input power lost as heat.

The Rensselaer team compiled results from various experiments to validate their findings. They determined their study established the correlation between interfacial bond strength and thermal conductance. This understanding, coupled with continued research, may lead to completely different ways to control interfacial heat transfer.

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