Heat’s on for boron nitride

Research from Deakin’s Institute for Frontier Materials could lead to the development of faster computers and overcome some of the safety issues caused by the overheating of electronic devices such as batteries.

Since their inception, computers and electronic devices have been getting faster and faster, and smaller and smaller. However, if the heat released from small devices like mobile phones and iPads can’t be effectively dissipated, they can overheat, resulting in underperformance, failure or, in extreme cases, explosion.

Current heat dissipation techniques include heat spreaders and heat sinks made from electric-conductive metals such as silver, aluminium and copper. Electrical insulating is also important to prevent short-circuiting when heat spreaders are used directly beneath the active layer in thin, film-based electronic devices like superfast computer processors.

Now, a team of nanotechnology researchers from Deakin University’s Institute for Frontier Materials has produced the first bulk boron nitride (BN) with high thermal conductivity, which could potentially replace current heat dissipation techniques, allow the development of even smaller devices and make our mobile phones and computers cooler and safer.