NewsA new, most thermal-efficient semiconductor material has been developed

A new, most thermal-efficient semiconductor material has been developed

Category articles

A new, most thermal-efficient semiconductor material has been developed. Will it help prolonging the lifespan of heat-sensitive electronic systems?

Correct thermal management in all electronic systems and devices is one of the very important factors that reduce the risk of component damage and keeps them operating as long as possible without the need for servicing them. Bad cooling may also greatly reduce the overall performance of these devices and increase usage costs (more energy loss and usage).

pcb thermal management
Example of correct thermal management on the electronic device’s surface. This PCB looks very ”cool” indeed.

Engineers from the University of California, Los Angeles have developed a new semiconductor material which was the result of several years of research that included designing and testing properties of various materials. It is more efficient at dissipating and accumulating excessive heat from PCB (Printed Circuit Board) surface than any other today is known as metals and semiconductors. That material is a defect-free crystal of Boron Arsenide (BAs) that has been made for the first time by UCLA engineers team. It has been measured with an ultrahigh thermal conductivity (1300 W/(m·K)). However, crystals with the small density of defects have shown lower thermal conductivity (900-1000 W/(m·K)). It is also more than three times faster at conducting heat than currently used materials, such as Copper (Cu) or Silicon Carbide (SiC).

Increasing miniaturization of electronic components has led them to become the size of single nanometers. So, we can say that a single transistor is about (or even more than)
100 000 times smaller than the human hair in diameter! Today it is not unusual to see billions of transistors incorporated on a single electronic chip (Integrated Circuit). In terms of the computing power, generally the more = the better, but that also means that they’re generating more heat and that’s why heat management has become one of the biggest challenges in optimizing performance of modern electronic devices.

This development may be a potential step forward for improving current thermal management knowledge. It could lead to prolonging the lifespan of various heat-sensitive electronic systems (CPU’s, Motherboards and such).


Image credit:

Michal Pukala
Electronics and Telecommunications engineer with Electro-energetics Master degree graduation. Lightning designer experienced engineer. Currently working in IT industry.