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John O | May 2019

U.K. researchers show high thermal conductivity of ultra-pure hexagonal boron nitride


By Josh Perry, Editor
jperry@coolingzone.com

 

Researchers at the University of Bristol (U.K.) demonstrated a thermal conductivity of 550 W/mK, more than twice that of copper, in ultra-pure boron nitride, which could be used in safer and more efficient electronics, according to a report from the school.

 


It is expected that the material will be used in the future to create high performance, high energy efficiency electronics and reduce the number of power stations. (University of Bristol)

 

Professor Martin Kuball of the school’s Center for Device Thermography and Reliability, who led the research team on this project, noted, “Boron Nitride is one such material which was predicted to have a thermal conductivity of 550 W/mK, twice that of copper. However, all measurements to date seemed to show its thermal conductivity was much lower. Excitingly, by making this material ‘ultra-pure’, we have been able to demonstrate for the first time its very high thermal conductivity potential.”

 

The research was recently published in Communications Physics. The abstract stated:

 

“Hexagonal boron nitride (h-BN) has been predicted to exhibit an in-plane thermal conductivity as high as ~ 550 W m−1 K−1 at room temperature, making it a promising thermal management material. However, current experimental results (220–420 W m−1 K−1) have been well below the prediction.

 

“Here, we report on the modulation of h-BN thermal conductivity by controlling the B isotope concentration. For monoisotopic 10B h-BN, an in-plane thermal conductivity as high as 585 W m−1 K−1 is measured at room temperature, ~ 80% higher than that of h-BN with a disordered isotope concentration (52%:48% mixture of 10B and 11B). The temperature-dependent thermal conductivities of monoisotopic h-BN agree well with first principles calculations including only intrinsic phonon-phonon scattering.

 

“Our results illustrate the potential to achieve high thermal conductivity in h-BN and control its thermal conductivity, opening avenues for the wide application of h-BN as a next-generation thin-film material for thermal management, metamaterials and metadevices.”

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