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Research Papers

Thermal Transport in Self-Assembled Conductive Networks for Thermal Interface Materials

[+] Author and Article Information
Lin Hu, William Evans

Department of Materials Science and Engineering and Rensselaer Nanotechnology Center,  Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York 12180

Pawel Keblinski1

Department of Materials Science and Engineering and Rensselaer Nanotechnology Center,  Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York 12180keblip@rpi.edu

1

Corresponding author.

J. Electron. Packag 133(2), 021002 (Jun 22, 2011) (4 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4003865 History: Received March 06, 2010; Revised February 16, 2011; Published June 22, 2011; Online June 22, 2011

We present a concept for development of high thermal conductivity thermal interface materials (TIMs) via a rapid formation of conductive network. In particular we use molecular dynamics simulations to demonstrate the possibility of a formation of a network of solid nanoparticles in liquid solution and establish wetting and volume fraction conditions required for a rapid formation of such network. Then, we use Monte-Carlo simulations to determine effective thermal conductivity of the solid/liquid composite material. The presence of a percolating network dramatically increases the effective thermal conductivity, as compared to values characterizing dispersed particle structures.

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Copyright © 2011 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figures

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Figure 1

(a) Initial structure of the solid/liquid composite. (b) Example of a structure with a percolating network. (Only the solid particles are shown for clarity. Liquid particles fill the remainder of the space within the simulation cell.)

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Figure 2

Cell dimension along z direction versus time (in reduced unit) upon compression in the x and y directions. For the established percolation network (bottom curve), no deformation occurs in the z direction.

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Figure 3

A typical plot of the random walker’s mean squared displacement over the simulation time. The ratio of the steady state slope of the curve provides the ratio of thermal diffusivity, which is also the ratio of thermal conductivity.

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Figure 4

(a) Thermal conductivity of composite structures (fs  = 23%) with and without percolation as a function of thermal conductivity of the solid. (b) Thermal conductivity of composite structures as a function of solid particle volume fraction for κsl  = 500. In all cases, percolation network gives a significant increase in effective thermal conductivity of the composite.

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