Tiny coolant

Published: Saturday 15 December 2001

A new composite material designed by scientists at the Research Triangle Institute in North Carolina promises to be of great use in cooling down computer chips and other miniature devices. The new material is a superlattice -- a stack of very thin films of two alternating alloys. Each layer is a few millionths of a millimetre thick, and so contains just several dozen layers of atoms. Since the material is extremely thin, it can be used efficiently in cooling microchips where they can cool many thousands of times faster than bigger centimetre sized devices ( Nature , Vol 413, p597).

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