Thermal Interface Materials Based on Anchored Carbon Nanotubes
The new devices and missions to achieve the aims of NASA's Science Mission Directorate (SMD) are creating increasingly demanding thermal environments and applications. In particular, the low conductance of metal-to-metal interfaces used in the thermal switches lengthen the cool-down phase and resource usage for spacecraft instruments. During this work, we developed and tested a vacuum-compatible, durable, heat-conduction interface that employs carbon nanotube (CNT) arrays directly anchored on the mating metal surfaces via microwave plasma-enhanced, chemical vapor deposition (PECVD). We demonstrated that CNT-based thermal interface materials have the potential to exceed the performance of currently available options for thermal switches and other applications.