SUBJECT: Ph.D. Proposal Presentation
BY: John Taphouse
TIME: Monday, November 4, 2013, 12:30 p.m.
PLACE: Love Building, 109
TITLE: Thermal Contact Resistance in Carbon Nanotube Forest Interfaces
COMMITTEE: Dr. Baratunde Cola, Co-Chair (ME)
Dr. Samuel Graham, Co-Chair (ME)
Dr. Satish Kumar (ME)
Dr. Gleb Yushin (MSE)
Dr. Jud Ready (GTRI)


As the semiconductor industry continually strives to increase the power density of single chip packages, thermal management remains a critical challenge toward realizing both performance and reliability metrics. One of the primary bottlenecks inhibiting effective thermal management are the several interfaces that can exist between the chip and heat sink. Specifically, the thermal resistance of the thermal interface materials (TIMs) that are currently used to bridge these interfaces must be decreased. Forests comprised of nominally vertically aligned carbon nanotubes (CNTs), having outstanding thermal and mechanical properties, are excellent candidates for thermal interface materials (TIMs). However, despite nearly a decade of research, TIMs based on vertically aligned CNT (VACNT) forests have yet to harness effectively the high thermal conductivity of individual CNTs. One of the key obstacles that has limited the performance of VACNT TIMs is the presence of high thermal contact resistances between the CNT free ends and the surfaces comprising the interface. The aim of this research is to better understand the mechanisms by which the thermal contact resistance of CNT forest thermal interfaces can be reduced and to use this understanding towards the design of effective and to scalable processing methods.