The cooling of microelectronics is no longer an associated field, but an intrgal design consideration in manufacturing. As the number and proximity of electronic circuits scale ever smaller, so the problem of static current leakage becomes ever larger. It's a foregone conclusion these devices need to be cooled. Currently there are three primary methods for cooling computer circuits, air-cooling, water-cooling, and phase-change and/or heat-pipe technology. Although each method is unique, there remains one common principle, or component, Thermal Interface Material or TIM. Nanotherm (ESG Associates) has recently become an R&D leader in this field with their introduction of PCM+.
The concept behind Nanotherm's Phase Change Material is twofold. It is of course a TIM transferring heat between electronic package, and heatsink plate or water block. Where it differs from every other product on the market, is in its ability to phase-change itself. While performing its primary purpose, it also acts as an exponential catalyst, rapidly absorbing and dissipating thermal energy to the heat sink, and undergoing a transformation in the process. In a phase change environment, the coolant or catalyst changes phase after absorption, but must return to that state once the energy which transformed it is dissipated. Usually this is accomplished in a radiator where the gas condenses to liquid as it's pumped through the air cooled radiator fins.
In a TIM application, the material would have to undergo this process without the mechanical processing stages. In other words, in one TIM there needs to a substance capable of phase-change, and a substance to act as an encapsulate, which itself must have the ability to transfer heat. This is asking quite a lot from any substance, let alone one under high pressure, and heat. Yet this is where Nanotherm has accomplished this. The key being the environment. While phase-change is accomplished due to a vacuum which immediately removes the coolant in its gaseous stage, Nanotherm simply exploits the pressure under which the compound must function.
In addition to its many benefit's the liquidity of the substance allows it to more effectively fill every microcosm, and pore in the treated surfaces. This is why one must apply PCM+ to both surfaces.
The Nanotherm products tested