UCLA Reveal Electrically Gated Thermal Switch

Solid State Thermal Transistors

UCLA Thermal Solid State Transistor

Solid State Thermal Transistors

Talk about serendipitous timing. We’ve only just discussed the heat problems inherent in the new, ultra fast, hardware. How difficult it is to move all the heat away from the components. How it might prove to be a stumbling block for ever faster hardware. Then UCLA announce they have developed Solid State Thermal Transistors.

Naturally this is one of those reveals that quickly moves into discussions about things that are way above our head. We therefore recommend if you’ve a particularly keen interest and understanding you check out their paper. However, in layman’s terms the team of Man Li et al have managed to produce what they’re calling a thermal switch. Utilising chemical bonding and an electrical field that can be switched above 1 Megahertz, a conducting ratio of 1300% and can be switched more than 10m times. Instead of relying solely upon heatsinks to remove heat away from your toasty components, these solid state thermal transistors can work alongside to keep things cooler, faster.

In the words of the brains behind the project :

In this work, we demonstrate an electronically gated solid-state thermal switch using self-assembled molecular junctions to achieve excellent performance at room temperature. In this three-terminal device, heat flow is continuously and reversibly modulated by an electric field through carefully controlled chemical bonding and charge distributions within the molecular interface. The devices have ultrahigh switching speeds above 1 megahertz, have on/off ratios in thermal conductance greater than 1300%, and can be switched more than 1 million times. We anticipate that these advances will generate opportunities in molecular engineering for thermal management systems and thermal circuit design.

We’re obviously onboard with anything that allows our hardware to run cooler without the need for additional, expensive cooling solutions. To be able to build them into the product itself could be revolutionary. Like any cutting edge invention these are still some time from appearing in consumer level products, but it could finally be the solution for which we have been waiting. Imagine the benefits to solid state drives, or consoles, graphics cards or processors? Sucking the heat away from critical components faster than ever before. It’s a mouth-watering prospect.

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Von Blade

Von Blade

I’m VB, the resident OC3D keyboard slave, writer of half the content you love and all the irreverent bits you hate.

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