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Thermal Nanotape Promises Cooler, Healthier Chips 48

Blacklaw writes "A team of researchers comprised of members from the Semiconductor Research Corporation and Stanford University has developed a new thermal nanotape which it claims will lead to chips that run cooler and last longer. The thermal nanotape, constructed of binder materials surrounding carbon nanotubes, promises to lead to the creation of semiconductors — including CPUs and GPUs — that don't suffer from the rigors of frequent temperature changes, known as thermal cycling."
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Thermal Nanotape Promises Cooler, Healthier Chips

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  • Cool (Score:4, Funny)

    by Crudely_Indecent ( 739699 ) on Monday January 24, 2011 @11:16AM (#34981228) Journal

    I had to say it.

  • by olsmeister ( 1488789 ) on Monday January 24, 2011 @11:17AM (#34981234)
    I had a mental picture of a really, really tiny tape dispenser.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Joe U ( 443617 )

      I had a mental picture of healthy potato chips. I should have had breakfast.

      • I had the picture of potato chips wrapped in black electrical tape. I don't care how healthy they are I aint gonna eat em!

    • by samkass ( 174571 )

      I just had mental a picture of Data or Dr. Who saying, "We could use thermal nanotape to reduce thermal cycling with carbon nanotubes" and me snickering at the blatant pseudoscience jargon.

      • by Suki I ( 1546431 )

        I always jump to that bit from Alien where the blood is eating through the decks and the Commander ruins someone's pen examining the stuff and says "molecular acid". You would think with those budgets they could get a natural sciences student to read through the scripts or something? Don't get me started on the "unobtanium" from Avatar.

        • You might be amused by a few facts regarding the word unobta(i)nium [], and an explanation of its behaviour in said film.
          • by Suki I ( 1546431 )

            Yes, I like that page and I usually forget that "i" when typing fast too. Got to use a bunch of those terms and (I think) a few of my own when I did my Avatar review last year.
            Writing of the aircraft in the movie:

            Unless they are made of ‘upsidasium’ they must be fueled by ‘undepletium’ because they are always fully loaded and hovering.

            Note: ‘upsidasium’ was from the Rockey and Bullwinkle show.

            • by sznupi ( 719324 )

              Ability to reach high sub-light speeds somewhat implies insane materials science and energy densities.

              • by Suki I ( 1546431 )

                Ability to reach high sub-light speeds somewhat implies insane materials science and energy densities.

                But the exhaust ports, exhaust and staining on the atmospheric craft suggest plain old carbon based fuels. When the folks mentioned in my review started going through how that stuff works now, we came to the conclusion that they just stuck turbine engines to generators and ran wires to the ceramic/unobtainium motors driving the blades.

                • by sznupi ( 719324 )

                  Well, you need reaction mass anyway in the shuttle. Which would be likely very superheated / might explain staining similar to when using hydrocarbons.

                  Atmospheric turbines would most likely superheat the flowing air too (there would be surely plenty of waste heat / cooling required, whatever powers the turbines) - even if both in & out would be only air, just slightly organic (burned to soot while passing the turbine) haze ought to leave its mark after a while. Also: partial breakup of compounds forming

  • My chips are picky, they don't want anything healthier.
  • Could this be the answer to cooling 3D ICs too? Layers of this stuff inbetween the layers of silicon. The thermal regulation seems to be where most 3D ICs fall down.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Thermal Nanotape Promises Cooler Chips

    This isn't good. Chips should remain nerdy for maximum performance.

  • Unlike thermal grease, which I can't wait to get off my hands... and everything else I touch. I'm all for something that lets me handle a CPU without needing a roll of paper towels.
    • Juice from citrus peel, lighter fluid or pretty much any solvent will shift thermal past, or you could:

      A: Use gloves

      B: Not be so ham-fisted (I'm not trying to be insulting but seriously, how difficult is it to put a small blob of goo on a little square and spread it around with a credit card?!)

    • by afidel ( 530433 )
      Here's [] the answer to your needs. Most assembled products these days use thermal pads since they are much easier to automate and can come in higher transfer values than pastes.
  • They are so small they pass through the cell wall. A company released a nano car polish that made people sick. Last thing I need is to have nano-scale thermal compound in my body.
    • by afidel ( 530433 )
      That's like saying metals are a health hazard because a guy used some metal to kill people in Arizona. C60, by far the most studied nanoparticle has been shown to be non-carcinogenic by itself although it does make a nice carrier for molecular oxygen for delivering a carcinogenic payload (ban oxygen!).
  • To me it just sounds like a replacement for colloidal silver paste: flexible but with a high thermal conductivity. I'm not poo-pooing the invention but what was wrong with paste, exactly? From what I read in TFA this just sounds like something else being hyped because CNTs are involved.

    What's a good article to read about CPU longevity and running temperature? In my ignorance it seems like there's not much of a problem so long as nothing cracks as a result of differential expansion.

    To take a more pragmatic v

    • by sznupi ( 719324 )

      Try looking beyond your PC sometimes; integrated circuits will be sort of in everything, not a long time from now. Already there might be more ARM cores shipping annually than total number of x86 ones ever produced. And once good enough, they're supposed to last.

      The thing from TFA seems more suited to automated mass production of embedded devices.

  • I'm hoping the good professor was simply misquoted, shouldn't that read "high waste-heat generation"?
    And could they perhaps check that SRC isn't called SCR when quoting him? /pedant

  • Ohh, all the uses i would have for that.

    When the invent that, we will finally be able to build a space elevator.

    • by Genda ( 560240 )

      The mental image of a chubby flight crew technician nano-duck-taping a Russian heavy lift vehicle to an American payload module, taping away in all his Mr. Fixit, butt-crack glory... has given my minds eye a need for psychological Visine... it burns, it burns!!! I think I'm going to have my brain washed out now. Ta

  • Healthier maybe, but nothing is cooler than Doritos Cooler Ranch.
  • Is a nanotube technology the sucked the heat out of processors, and turned it back into electricity with a fairly high level of efficiency. Store that energy in high performance capacitors and you could cut the waste heat and electrical consumption of electronic devices by some huge amount. Imagine a laptop supercomputer running for months on a charge... of course there would be the energy lost from producing an illuminated display. We need hardware to interface our computers and visual cortices!!! imagine

    • You can't turn heat into electricity without violating the second law of thermodynamics. You can get some electricity from a heat differential, but not enough to be worth it outside of data centers.

Things equal to nothing else are equal to each other.