Research Highlights

Nature 458, 811 (16 April 2009) | doi:10.1038/458811b; Published online 15 April 2009

Nanotechnology: The new heat order

Nano Lett. doi:10.1021/nl900399b (2009)

The extreme miniaturization that is reached in micro- and nano-electromechanical devices also generates a lot of heat at specific points. This heat has to be dissipated to stop the device from deteriorating, but normal heat-management techniques, such as metal wiring or fluid cooling, do not work well for sources of this size.

Zhiping Xu and Markus Buehler at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge used a theoretical model to evaluate the heat-dissipation performance of hierarchical networks composed of one-dimensional filaments — for example, linked carbon nanotubes. The authors discovered that, even with the same number of dissipating nodes, these structures are much more effective than non-hierarchical configurations.