Recent advancements in integrated circuits demand the development of novel thermal management schemes that can dissipate ultra-high heat fluxes with high heat transfer coefficients. Previous study demonstrated the potential of thin film evaporation on micro/nanostructured surfaces [1–11]. Theoretical calculations indicate that heat transfer coefficients on the order of 106 W/m2K and heat fluxes of 105 W/cm2 can be achievable with water [1, 5–6]. However, in previous experimental setup, the coolant has to propagate across the surface which limits the increase in heat flux and the heat transfer coefficient, while adding complexity to the system design. This work aims to decouple the propagation of the coolant from the evaporation process through a novel experimental configuration. Thin nanoporous membranes of 13 mm diameter were used where a metal layer was deposited on the top surface to serve as a resistance heater. Liquid was supplied from the bottom of the membrane, driven through the nanopores by capillary force, and evaporated from the top surface. Heat transfer coefficient over 104 W/m2K was obtained with isopropyl alcohol (IPA) as the coolant, which is only two orders of magnitude smaller than the theoretical limit. This work offers insights into optimal experimental designs towards achieving kinetic limits of heat transfer for thin film evaporation based thermal management solutions.

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