Coated carbon nanotubes as high conductivity thermal interface materials

Period of Performance: 03/15/2012 - 03/14/2014


Phase 2 STTR

Recipient Firm

ADA Technologies, Inc.
8100 Shaffer Parkway Array
Littleton, CO 80127
Principal Investigator
Firm POC

Research Institution

University of Colorado Boulder
572 UCB
Boulder, CO 80309
Institution POC


ABSTRACT: Thermal interface materials (TIMs) constitute an essential part of thermal management which is quickly becoming the limiting factor in high power, high functional density, and increasingly small-sized electronics for future U.S. Air Force (AF) platforms. Examples of critical applications of interest to the AF include that require improved thermal management include modern aircraft, directed energy systems, and satellites. TIMs aim to ensure a continuous thermal conductivity path between the heat source and heat sink/dissipater, thus permitting the efficient operation of electronics. The major impediment to achieving reliable TIMs is high thermal interfacial resistance, which increases over time due to introduction of air pockets and the loss of contact between the meshing surfaces under thermal cycling. To address this need, ADA Technologies, Inc., in collaboration with the University of Colorado, Boulder proposes a novel approach to synthesize high-performance TIMs based on reduction of interfacial thermal resistance via electronic conduction. ADA s proposed TIM aims to realize significant improvements of the current state-of-the-art in thermal performance and reliability. Material development selection and fabrication efforts will be based on systematic recommendations from a detailed quantum mechanics-based thermal transport model developed at CU Boulder. BENEFIT: ADA has designed our efforts to realize high-performance TIMs offering significant improvements over the current state-of-the-art. If successful, ADA s technology will permit the development and usage of electronics that offer higher power and faster operating speeds by providing more efficient heat management. This will directly benefit capabilities in next generation AF efforts such as those anticipated in military aircraft, directed energy systems, satellites, and avionics. Furthermore, this technology will have direct benefits in many commercial electronics including personal electronics (e.g., laptops, cell phones, music players) and civilian aircraft, spacecraft, and other microelectronics.