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It can be a significant challenge to cool the powerful electronics packed inside the latest smartphones. KAUST researchers have developed a fast and efficient way to make a carbon material that could be ideally suited to dissipating heat in electronic devices. This versatile material could also have additional uses ranging from gas sensors to solar cells.

Many use films to draw away and dissipate the heat generated by their electronic components. Although graphite is a naturally occurring form of carbon, heat management of electronics is a demanding application and usually relies on use of high-quality micrometer-thick manufactured graphite films. "However, the method used to make these graphite films, using polymer as a source material, is complex and very energy intensive," says Geetanjali Deokar, a postdoc in Pedro Costa's lab, who led the work. The films are made in a multistep process that requires temperatures of up to 3200 degrees Celsius and which cannot produce films any thinner than a few micrometers.

Deokar, Costa and their colleagues have developed a quick, energy-efficient way to make graphite sheets that are approximately 100 nanometers thick. The team grew nanometer-thick graphite films (NGF) on nickel foils using a technique called (CVD) in which the nickel catalytically converts hot methane gas into graphite on its surface. "We achieved NGFs with a CVD growth step of just five minutes at a reaction temperature of 900 degrees Celsius," Deokar says.

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Category: Science
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