comment on this article

Flexible device could provide efficient cooling of electronic devices

Engineers and scientists from UCLA Henry and non profit R&D organisation SRI International have created a thin flexible device whiuch they believe could keep smartphones and laptop computers from overheating. The team also envisages applications in wearable electronics, robotic systems and new types of personalised cooling systems.

The solid state cooling device approach is based on the electrocaloric effect. It uses a thin polymer film that transfers heat from the source to a heat sink and alternates contact between the two by switching a voltage on and off. Because the polymer film is flexible, the system could be adapted for devices with complex curvature or with moving surfaces.

“We were motivated by the idea of devising a personalised cooling system,” said Professor Qibing Pei. “For example, an active cooling pad could keep a person comfortable in a hot office and thus lower the electricity consumption for building air conditioning. Or it could be placed in a shoe insole or in a hat to keep a runner comfortable in the hot Southern California sun. It’s like a personal air conditioner.”

However, the major application is potentially in mobile and wearable electronics, where thermal management remains a major challenge. The UCLA–SRI system is said to have advantages over thermoelectric coolers.

Prof Pei said other potential applications could include a flexible pad for treating injuries or reducing noise in thermographic cameras and night vision devices.

Graham Pitcher

Comment on this article

This material is protected by MA Business copyright See Terms and Conditions. One-off usage is permitted but bulk copying is not. For multiple copies contact the sales team.

What you think about this article:

Add your comments


Your comments/feedback may be edited prior to publishing. Not all entries will be published.
Please view our Terms and Conditions before leaving a comment.

Related Articles

Eel inspired battery

The electric eel has inspired researchers at the University of Fribourg, the ...

Peeling the onion

The Internet of Things is developing from being a concept just a few years ago ...

The Sonic Internet

Whether in the smart home or in in-car entertainment the audio market is ...

Get to market faster

A quick look at using Vicor's PFM and AIM in VIA packaging for your AC to Point ...

Mobile slowdown

With just under a week to go before Apple launches its new iPhone the press has ...

Broadband upgrade

BT has made an offer to the government to spend £600million to deliver 10Mbps ...

Shaping the future

Alexander Everke, the CEO of ams, started his career in the semiconductor ...