GE’s Nanotechnology Advanced Technology Program have fabricated a prototype substrate that can cool electronic devices such as a laptop computer twice as well as copper.
How it Works
"GE’s phase-change based prototype substrate can be applied to computer chips and a variety of different electronic components. It acts as a cooling mechanism that spreads or dissipates the heat generated in electronic systems to keep components cool."
The heatpipe/vapour chamber uses a nanostructured Superhydrophilic evaporator coupled with a nanostructured superhydrophilic wick and nanostructured hybrid superhydrophobic/philic condenser as illustrated below.
"A diagram of GE’s advanced thermal material system. Leveraging unique surface engineered coatings that both repel and attract water, GE’s system achieves twice the heat conducting properties of copper and can function under extreme forces of gravity."
Surprisingly, the General Electric website has so little detailed information on this technological breakthrough that it's difficult to say what the advancement actually is - wick structure or vapour chamber as a whole?
Luckily, MIT have an original white paper relating to this DARPA contract. The paper written by Professor Kripa Varanasi and Dr. Tao Deng, "Engineered Nanostructures for High Thermal Conductivity Substrates" deals with advances in heterogeneous wick structures of 1mm thick vapour chamber heat spreaders. Quoting the document; "The proposed TGP
is based on a heat pipe architecture, whereby the
enhanced transport of heat is made possible by applying
nanoengineered surfaces to the evaporator, wick, and
condenser surfaces. Ultra-low thermal resistances are
engineered using superhydrophilic and superhydrophobic
nanostructures on the interior surfaces of the TGP
envelope. The final TGP design will be easily integrated
into existing printed circuit board manufacturing