Design of Thermal Interface Material Based on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloy for Connecting Two Thermoelectric Legs

Introduction Efficient heat management is crucial for electronics to optimize performance and to avoid premature component deterioration. An area of primary concern is at the interface of adjoining thermal components, such as with heatsink interfaces and with connections between thermoelectric legs. Problems arise due to the inability of the two surfaces, necessarily of differing metals, to fully connect because of imperfections. This issue is addressed by using thermal interface material (TIM) to improve this connection and to increase the thermal conductivity, and therefore heat transfer efficiency, between the two substrates. Ever increasing heat levels in our devices, however, means ever-increasing need for TIM improvement. Technology Description Professor Taya at the University of Washington has developed a device that utilizes high temperature shape memory alloy (HTSMA) as a thermal interface material (TIM). HTSMA has two distinct structures at high and low temperatures. By tying a phase change to the device thermal capacity as a TIM, this technology is able to alleviate the thermal residual stress that develops at he interface of two thermoelectric components. Business Opportunity The ability to efficiently manage heat is vital to electronics. This technology presents opportunities in any area that has an interface between thermal components, such as with heat sinks and other cooling devices and with junctions between thermoelectric legs. Stage of Development A working prototype is in progress. Intellectual Property Position The UW is currently reviewing this technology for worldwide patent protection.

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