March 6, 2015

Squeezing out new science from material interfaces

(March 6, 2015)  With more than five times the thermal conductivity of copper, diamond is the ultimate heat spreader. But the slow rate of heat flow into diamond from other materials limits its use in practice. In particular, the physical process controlling heat flow between metals and diamond has remained a mystery to scientists for many years.

By applying extreme pressure in a diamond anvil cell to metal films on diamond, researchers at Illinois have now determined the physical process dominating this unexplained heat flow, which has implications for understanding and improving heat flow between any two materials.