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Materials 2009, 2(4), 2467-2495; doi:10.3390/ma2042467
Review

Thermal Conductivity of Diamond Composites

*  and
Ioffe Physical-Technical Institute of the Russian Academy of Science, 26 Polytekhnicheskaya st., Saint-Petersburg, 194021, Russia
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 1 November 2009 / Revised: 16 December 2009 / Accepted: 17 December 2009 / Published: 21 December 2009
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Composite Materials)
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Abstract

A major problem challenging specialists in present-day materials sciences is the development of compact, cheap to fabricate heat sinks for electronic devices, primarily for computer processors, semiconductor lasers, high-power microchips, and electronics components. The materials currently used for heat sinks of such devices are aluminum and copper, with thermal conductivities of about 250 W/(m·K) and 400 W/(m·K), respectively. Significantly, the thermal expansion coefficient of metals differs markedly from those of the materials employed in semiconductor electronics (mostly silicon); one should add here the low electrical resistivity metals possess. By contrast, natural single-crystal diamond is known to feature the highest thermal conductivity of all the bulk materials studied thus far, as high as 2,200 W/(m·K). Needless to say, it cannot be applied in heat removal technology because of high cost. Recently, SiC- and AlN-based ceramics have started enjoying wide use as heat sink materials; the thermal conductivity of such composites, however, is inferior to that of metals by nearly a factor two. This prompts a challenging scientific problem to develop diamond-based composites with thermal characteristics superior to those of aluminum and copper, adjustable thermal expansion coefficient, low electrical conductivity and a moderate cost, below that of the natural single-crystal diamond. The present review addresses this problem and appraises the results reached by now in studying the possibility of developing composites in diamond-containing systems with a view of obtaining materials with a high thermal conductivity.
Keywords: diamond; thermal conductivity; heat sink; composite; nanodiamond; high pressures; infiltration; spark plasma sintering diamond; thermal conductivity; heat sink; composite; nanodiamond; high pressures; infiltration; spark plasma sintering
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).
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Kidalov, S.V.; Shakhov, F.M. Thermal Conductivity of Diamond Composites. Materials 2009, 2, 2467-2495.

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