A team of scientists have discovered that graphene can aid in cooling of processors and other hot computer components to such a degree that it may extend the device’s lifespan..
Cooling is a game of give and take when it comes to computers. On one hand, you need sensitive components such as the CPU and GPU to remain cool, but on the other hand, cooling can suck up a lot of energy so you don’t want to go overboard. Graphene, the amazing substance whose discovery led to the 2010 Nobel prize in physics, may hold a perfect solution.
A team of scientists based out of Sweden’s Chalmers University have discovered that a one atom thick layer of graphene applied to computer hotspots, such as the CPU, has enough of a cooling effect to make a significant difference in the component’s heat retention.
Graphene is a material composed of a single layer of carbon atoms
“The normal working temperature in the hotspots we have cooled with a graphene layer has ranged from 55 to 115 degrees Celsius. We have been able to reduce this by up to 13 degrees, which not only improves energy efficiency, it also extends the working life of the electronics.” says professor Johan Liu, who is in charge of the project. Liu points out that a 10 degree Celsius temperature increase can halve the lifespan of certain components.
While you may not think cooling is such a critical issue for your home computer, data centers can usually attribute half of their energy usage to cooling. Graphene could very well cut that down significantly. In addition, the new material may find its way into cooling embedded electronic components (such as those you find in a car), where conventional cooling options are difficult to fit in.