Delivering Graphite Innovations At Semi-Therm For Over 20 Years

In a matter of weeks, NeoGraf will be attending this year’s 36th annual Semi-Therm, Semi-Conductor Thermal Management, Modeling and Management symposium in San Jose, California. While we are there we will network with many of today’s leading tech, consumer electronics, and defense manufacturers to discuss the latest thermal management solutions.

NeoGraf has attended this industry-leading event for nearly two decades, showcasing our innovative flexible graphite solutions. In anticipation of this year’s event, we are talking with one of NeoGraf’s R&D experts, Julan Norley, as he highlights the significance of Semi-Therm to our industry, as well as what we plan to present at this year’s symposium.

Q. Tell us more about yourself. What is your background?

A. I received my Ph.D. in Materials Science/Metallurgy from Imperial College in London. I have been in the carbon and graphite industry for thirty-five years and am a fellow of the American Carbon Society. I have personally authored 25 U.S. patents and given multiple presentations all over the world related to carbon and graphite materials.

Q. Tell us a little about Semi-Therm. What makes it such a significant event?

A. Launched in 1984, Semi-Therm is the premier annual symposium for semiconductor thermal management. Every year the event brings together today’s leading thermal engineers, professionals from a variety of industries across the globe, and academic experts to exchange knowledge and information on the latest academic and industrial advances in electronics thermal management.

The symposium exists to provide manufacturers from an array of industries with insight into the latest cooling solutions, whether for consumer electronics, big data centers, defense, etc. Thermal management is a critical challenge facing many industries, so this is an event not to be missed.

Q. When did NeoGraf first attend Semi-Therm?

A. NeoGraf first attended Semi-Therm in 2000. We were known as UCAR Graph-Tech back then and were just starting our journey to understand how flexible graphite might act as a thermal interface material to help manufacturers cool electronic components.

I first attended in 2001 and presented on our development of a natural graphite heat spreader for thermal management. This was very new, as the incumbent material at the time was copper and other aluminum alloys.

What was most exciting was that just days before that year’s symposium, NeoGraf had matched the thermal performance of copper—the best thermal metal conductor for decades—with our flexible graphite material. And our material was ¼ the weight of copper. This was a very big deal, as weight is so important in consumer electronics and other products.

Q. Why was the introduction of NeoGraf’s flexible graphite material at Semi-Therm so remarkable?

A. NeoGraf was a pioneer in the introduction of flexible graphite to the thermal management community. Manufacturers were familiar with traditional metals like aluminum and copper but graphite was unknown. It was an important opportunity to educate attendees on what flexible graphite is and how it can be a cost-effective solution to some of the leading thermal management challenges faced by a variety of industries.

Our eGrafSPREADERSHIELD™ flexible graphite heat spreaders have become critical to managing heat in products, reducing skin temperatures and hot spots. They also improve temperature uniformity, diminishing premature burn-in and other problems that are temperature related.

Year after year, NeoGraf continues to deliver improvements in the thermal conductivity of our flexible graphite heat spreaders. The first iterations of our eGraf SPREADERSHIELD quickly passed 400 W/m-K, then 500 W/m-K, then 600 W/m-K before making the leap to 1500 W/mK around 2010, just in time for the smartphone era. In addition to making our flexible graphite material more thermally conductive, we also had to make it thinner (as low as 17µ) to manage greater heat loads in ever-shrinking devices.

Q. What will NeoGraf be presenting on at this year’s Semi-Therm event?

A. At last year’s event, we presented on the best methods for measuring the thermal conductivity of NeoNxGen™, a new generation of  high-performance, thick graphite foils. This year, we will be back to feature NeoNxGen—a monolayer graphite that matches the thermal performance of a multilayer synthetic but without the headaches of laminating thin layers.

We will have a booth exhibiting our company and a vendor workshop where attendees can experience our new graphite products first hand.

We are also co-authoring a paper with W. L. Gore & Associates on how we can combine NeoNxGen with their insulation materials to increase system performance and reduce the touch temperature in mobile electronics.

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