When a laptop or cell phone heats up from overuse, it’s not just uncomfortable for the user. That excess heat also damages the circuitry and reduces the device’s performance, energy efficiency, and life span. As modern electronic components are made smaller, their resistance rises. Heat dissipation has become a critical technological challenge for next-generation items, including microprocessors and integrated circuits, LEDs, and high-powered RF products.

Materials with high thermal conductivity help dissipate heat and improve the performance and reliability of those devices. However, developing a passive cooling option that is both cost-effective and reliable has been difficult. With a thermal conductivity of 2000 W/m·K, diamond is the best-known material for cooling. But it is expensive, has slow synthesis rates, and is of varying quality. Integrating diamond with silicon and other industrial semiconductors is also challenging because those materials have different thermal expansion coefficients.

Among metals, copper has the highest thermal...

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