Materials science. Graphene spreads the heat
The reliability and speed of electronic and optoelectronic devices strongly depend on temperature (1, 2). Materials with very high thermal conductivities are required to spread the heat generated locally in such devices (2). Bulk copper, which is widely used as heat spreader in computers, has a thermal conductivity of ∼400 W m−1 K−1 at room temperature, but copper thin films, used as electrical interconnects, can have lower thermal conductivity (below 250 W m−1 K−1) (3). The search is thus on for materials with thermal conductivities higher than that of copper. On page 213 of this issue, Seol et al. (4) report that single monolayers of graphite (graphene) in contact with silicon dioxide (SiO2) has a thermal conductivity of ∼600 W m−1 K−1.