Graphene is an unusual single-atom thick carbon semiconductor.
Researchers measured the heat of a graphene transistor for the first time using atomic force microscopy.
The results were surprising -- the material significantly self-cools.
Future computers may not need a heat-sink -- their thermal electric properties result in net-cooling effect
Heat is a sad fact of life for current generation electronics. Any Android, iPhone, or BlackBerry user can tell you that smartphones tend to get pretty hot at times. And by today's standards a balmy 85 degrees Celsius, while hot enough to cook an egg, is a pretty "good" operating temperature for a high-powered PC graphics processing unit.
But that could all soon change, according to the results of a new study by researchers at the University of Illinois. Examining graphene transistors, a team led by mechanical science and engineering professor William King and electrical and computer engineering professor Eric Pop made a remarkable discovery -- graphene appears to self-cool.
What is Graphene?
Graphene is somewhat like a miniature "fence" of carbon. The material consists of a single-atom thick layer composed of hexagonal units. At each point of the hexagon sits a carbon atom that is bonded to its three close neighbors.