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High heat conductors for electronics

Heatconductives was an EU-funded project that was established to find a replacement for lead found in the solder of components. The initiative also sought to improve heat management in electronic devices, thereby improving the power, reliability and efficiency of current semiconductor technology.
High heat conductors for electronics
The goal of the Heatconductives project was higher operating temperatures and frequencies in miniaturised electronic components and newly developed gallium nitride (GaN) semiconductors. Project partners used innovative materials based on a combination of copper and carbon nanofibres and nanotubes, which showed outstanding thermal conductivity. This approach provided better heat removal and could be applied to an enormous range of industrial devices.

The consortium also developed manufacturing processes for the production of thin foils and three-dimensional (3D) components. Although significant improvements were made, problems regarding the chemical interaction between copper and carbon prevented the optimum use of carbon nanofibres' thermal properties.

Work carried out by the consortium will help support the EU electronics sector and particularly SMEs to succeed in the global market place. This can be achieved through higher quality products, while reducing costs derived from a higher production rate of advanced components.

The success of the Heatconductives' initiative will help Europe compete with countries that produce low-cost components. Furthermore, Europe will be less dependent on the US and Japan for supplies of strategic products.

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