Nanoporous membrane device for ultra high heat flux thermal management. Academic Article uri icon


  • High power density electronics are severely limited by current thermal management solutions which are unable to dissipate the necessary heat flux while maintaining safe junction temperatures for reliable operation. We designed, fabricated, and experimentally characterized a microfluidic device for ultra-high heat flux dissipation using evaporation from a nanoporous silicon membrane. With ~100nm diameter pores, the membrane can generate high capillary pressure even with low surface tension fluids such as pentane and R245fa. The suspended ultra-thin membrane structure facilitates efficient liquid transport with minimal viscous pressure losses. We fabricated the membrane in silicon using interference lithography and reactive ion etching and then bonded it to a high permeability silicon microchannel array to create a biporous wick which achieves high capillary pressure with enhanced permeability. The back side consisted of a thin film platinum heater and resistive temperature sensors to emulate the heat dissipation in transistors and measure the temperature, respectively. We experimentally characterized the devices in pure vapor-ambient conditions in an environmental chamber. Accordingly, we demonstrated heat fluxes of 66574W/cm2 using pentane over an area of0.172mm10mm with a temperature rise of 28.51.8K from the heated substrate to ambient vapor. Thisheat flux,which is normalized by the evaporation area, is the highest reported to datein the pure evaporation regime, that is, without nucleate boiling. The experimental results are in good agreement with a high fidelity model which captures heat conduction in the suspended membrane structure as well as non-equilibrium and sub-continuum effects at the liquid-vapor interface. This work suggests that evaporative membrane-based approaches can be promising towards realizing an efficient, high flux thermal management strategy over large areas for high-performance electronics.

published proceedings

  • Microsyst Nanoeng

altmetric score

  • 4.3

author list (cited authors)

  • Hanks, D. F., Lu, Z., Sircar, J., Salamon, T. R., Antao, D. S., Bagnall, K. R., Barabadi, B., & Wang, E. N.

citation count

  • 108

complete list of authors

  • Hanks, Daniel F||Lu, Zhengmao||Sircar, Jay||Salamon, Todd R||Antao, Dion S||Bagnall, Kevin R||Barabadi, Banafsheh||Wang, Evelyn N

publication date

  • January 1, 2018 11:11 AM