Coming Soon To A Laptop Near You – The Ability To Not Light Your Crotch On Fire

Laptops have always been a source of both middle-class pretentiousness and blazing heat when used for long periods of time. Now, one of those things may be close to getting eliminated, and if you think it's the guy "writing his screenplay" in the back corner of your local coffeeshop, you're not even warm. 

It's always just been a problem computer users have had to deal with. At first, it didn't really matter – the only laptops that could be moved around required a lap as large as the mythical Bigfoot, and you should just see that guy try to type – his feet aren't the only big thing on him, and he isn't exactly graceful.

The point is that a laptop that large could also carry a substantial fan, mitigating most excessive heating effects. It still wasn't anything you'd want to cradle in your lap for all that long, but it didn't typically leave behind scorch marks.

Sadly, with progress often comes pain. As computer chip design evolved, relying most heavily on silicon, processors got faster, graphics got better, and laps got hotter. Silicon is a great conductor of electronic information, but a moderate-to-poor heat conductor, at least according to Professor Alexander Balandin, a expert in the field of electrical engineering from the University of California – Riverside. We're going to assume he knows of what he speaks, and knows it well.

In addition to knowing that silicon, at a nanometer scale, sucks as a heat conductor, he also knows that graphene, which is a single atom thick carbon crystal, is basically the bees knees of thermal conductivity. Graphene is also a moderately effective electrical conductor, and over the past few years, Professor Balandin and his team have been trying to use a mix of silicon and graphene to produce devices that are both effective and not as hot as the fires of Hades.

Graphene Sheet.: Graphene single-layer sheet.Graphene Sheet.: Graphene single-layer sheet. 

Initially, their trouble lay in getting single atom layer sheets of graphene that were of decent quality, but his team has recently demonstrated that multiple layers of graphene are both easier to make and just as effective as the single layer version. These are just like the jumbo bag of generic chips at the grocery store. Sure, it may not be quite as high quality as your favorite brand, but there's more of them, and they'll get you fat just as easily. It's win-win!

What this means for laptops is nothing, yet.

But, according to Balandin, in a few years this technology could well become commercially available, allowing laptop devices to retain their size and sleekness, while also helping men everywhere to prevent giving their sperm an all-inclusive vacation to the outer ring of hell. 

Source: EurekAlert! 

May 11, 2010
by Anonymous

Graphene for heat removal

The work performed in Balandin lab is very interesting. It may become the most promissing practical application of graphene.

May 15, 2010
by Anonymous

Great work!

It's about time someone is thinking about this in a different way. I dont feel comfortable about these water cooling systems I use at work.