Tuesday, May 21, 2024
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Diamond Nanomembranes Revolutionize Electric Vehicle Charging

Fraunhofer US researchers have achieved a groundbreaking development in the realm of electric vehicle (EV) technology: the creation of wafer-thin nano-membranes from synthetic diamonds. These membranes, thinner than a human hair, boast the potential to significantly enhance the performance and lifespan of EVs while drastically reducing charging times.

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Diamond, renowned for its exceptional thermal conductivity, presents a game-changing solution for cooling power electronics in electric transportation systems. With thermal conductivity four to five times greater than copper, diamond emerges as an ideal material for applications in EVs, photovoltaics, and storage systems.

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Traditionally, heat sinks composed of copper or aluminum plates have been utilized to expand the heat-emitting surface of components, thereby averting damage from overheating. However, the innovative nano-membranes made from synthetic diamonds offer a more direct approach. By integrating these flexible, electrically insulating nano-membranes into electronic components, such as current regulators in electric motors, the local heat load can be significantly reduced. This reduction not only enhances energy efficiency but also extends the service life and enhances the road performance of electric vehicles.

Moreover, when incorporated into the charging infrastructure, these diamond membranes have the potential to accelerate charging speeds to five times the current average.

Matthias Mühle, head of the Diamond Technologies group at the Fraunhofer US Center Midwest CMW, emphasized the transformative potential of this technology. By replacing the ineffective insulating layers typically found between copper and electronic components with diamond nanomembranes, heat transfer efficiency can be greatly improved. The flexibility and versatility of these membranes enable them to be seamlessly integrated into cooling circuits or directly onto electronic components, revolutionizing conventional cooling methods.

The fabrication process involves growing polycrystalline diamond nanomembranes on a silicon wafer, followed by detachment, inversion, and etching to create a free-standing, smooth diamond layer. Subsequent low-temperature heating bonds the membrane to the electronic component, ensuring seamless integration into the system.

With a patent already filed for this groundbreaking innovation, Fraunhofer US researchers are poised to commence application tests with inverters and transformers in various fields, including electric transportation and telecommunications. The scalability of production on wafer scales of four inches and larger ensures the viability of this technology for industrial applications, promising a paradigm shift in the realm of electric vehicle technology.

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