Indium Blog

Liquid Metal Gallium and Carbon NanoTube Thermal Interface Material Patent

  • Indium
  • Indium Corporation
  • Thermal Interface Materials
  • Thermal Management

  • A new patent has been published for a liquid metal gallium plus carbon nanotube thermal interface that may capture considerably more of the thermal conductivity benefit claimed by researchers of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) than has been possible outside of a laboratory setting previously.  

    Admittedly, I am embarrassed not to have come up with this thermal management concept myself! I was so close, and yet so far away. Previously, documented back to 2008, I described how conductive metals are in their liquid state. Those atoms get moving and shaking, and the heat passes right through! 

    I also balked at those touting their CNTs…. The technology wasn’t there! Carbon Nanotubes cannot be affordably grown on substrates to make a commercially-affordable thermal interface material, and if you grow them, cut them down, and try to re-apply them, they are no longer oriented to directly connect substrate layers, and the resultant interfacial resistance between tubes adds up fast. 

    Well, this patent reveals that Foxconn put 2 and 2 together to make what I’m gambling to be an outright GREAT Thermal Interface Material!!! This patent calls for carbon nanotubes suspended in liquid metal. That liquid metal fills in all the tube-to-tube gaps, and as fast as the heat comes in, it moves on out!

    So, for those of you with carbon nanotubes, Indium has the liquid metal, numerous types in fact, to suspend them and make a great thermal interface material.

    I love learning new technology, just wish that I had the clarity to have pursued something so obvious myself!

    Have fun testing!