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A new material could act as a nanofridge for microchips
Date:10/8/2008

In the past few years, the design and manufacturing of circuits at nanoscopic scale for integrated devices has become one of the frontier fields in new material science and technology. The significant reduction achieved in these devices often is accompanied by new discoveries in how they behave precisely when the systems are of extremely small dimensions. Understanding this new physics at nanoscopic scale at the same time has enabled researchers to study the possibility of designing new materials with innovative characteristics.

One of the most crucial properties to take into account when designing chips is the thermal conductivity of the devices integrated in the chip, i.e. their capacity to remove or accumulate energy. This property is essential to control the heating of micro-sized circuits, which represents one of the current physical limitations to computing potential. Combining heat and electricity creates thermoelectric effects which would allow circuits to cool down and would increase the power of computing. Until now, no material has contained the properties needed to be efficient enough in terms of thermoelectric behaviour. This is why obtaining materials at nanometric scale can be useful for the improvement of thermoelectric properties, since these materials can achieve a significant reduction in thermal conductivity as well as maintain a high level of electrical conductivity, which is needed to obtain high thermoelectric efficiency.

In this project, researchers of the UAB Department of Physics and the Barcelona Institute of Materials Science (ICMAB-CSIC) have worked together to develop a new material based on supernets formed with two alternative layers, one made of silicon (Si) and the other of germanium (Ge) nanocrystals (quantum dots). In comparison to previous improvements, this project proposes to place the quantum dots in an uncorrelated fashion on consecutive layers. In other words, the dots on one layer would not be ve
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Contact: Javier Rodriguez
javier.rodriguez@uab.cat
34-935-811-769
Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona
Source:Eurekalert

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