U.S. researchers have developed an alternative to conventional, expensive and inefficient electronic cooling systems. Their solution, a copper jacket, has increased the amount of current a component can withstand sevenfold.

Smaller, more powerful… and hotter. While today’s electronic devices are constantly improving, they face a major enemy: heat, which restricts their operation. To solve this problem, a team of researchers from the University of California at Berkeley (UC Berkeley) and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (IUC) have developed a solution that replaces the usual heat dissipation devices with an envelope made of a thin layer of polymer and copper. Less bulky, less expensive and, most importantly, more efficient, this approach allowed 740% more electrical current to flow through the same system.

This work aims to address three major shortcomings of the heat dissipation methods used to date. “First, they can be expensive and difficult to use on a large scale,” says University of Illinois researcher Tarek Gebrael in a statement. Second, they are often installed on top of electronic devices, while heat is often generated from below. Finally, they are not in direct contact with the heat source: an interface material – usually an adhesive – transfers the heat to the exhaust device, often with poor efficiency.