New Heat Dissipation Method Could Make Semiconductors Faster
Ashley Allen / 5 years ago
A team of researchers from the University of California have developed a new technique for dissipating heat across electronic devices which could give a massive speed and power boost to new and existing semiconductors. Alexander Balandin, Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computing Engineering and UC Presidential Chair Professor in UCR’s Bourns College of Engineering, led a team of scientists to modify the energy spectrum of acoustic photons, as detailed in the paper ‘Direct observation of confined acoustic phonon polarization branches in free-standing nanowires,’ published in the journal Nature Communications.
“The team used semiconductor nanowires from Gallium Arsenide (GaAs), synthesized by researchers in Finland, and an imaging technique called Brillouin-Mandelstam light scattering spectroscopy (BMS) to study the movement of phonons through the crystalline nanostructures,” reports phys.org’s Sarah Nightingale. “By changing the size and the shape of the GaAs nanostructures, the researchers were able to alter the energy spectrum, or dispersion, of acoustic phonons. The BMS instrument used for this study was built at UCR’s Phonon Optimized Engineered Materials (POEM) Center, which is directed by Balandin.”
“Controlling phonon dispersion is crucial for improving heat removal from nanoscale electronic devices, which has become the major roadblock in allowing engineers to continue to reduce their size,” Nightingale adds. “It can also be used to improve the efficiency of thermoelectric energy generation, Balandin said. In that case, decreasing thermal conductivity by phonons is beneficial for thermoelectric devices that generate energy by applying a temperature gradient to semiconductors.”
“For years, the only envisioned method of changing the thermal conductivity of nanostructures was via acoustic phonon scattering with nanostructure boundaries and interfaces,” said Balandin. “We demonstrated experimentally that by spatially confining acoustic phonons in nanowires one can change their velocity, and the way they interact with electrons, magnons, and how they carry heat. Our work creates new opportunities for tuning thermal and electronic properties of semiconductor materials.”