A two-phase heat spreader has been developed for cooling high heat flux sources in high-power lasers, high-intensity light-emitting diodes, and semiconductor power devices. The heat spreader targets the passive cooling of heat sources with fluxes greater than 5 W/mm2 without requiring any active power consumption for the thermal solution. The prototype vapor chamber consists of an evaporator plate, a condenser plate and an adiabatic section, with water as the phase-change fluid. The custom-designed high heat flux source is composed of a platinum resistive heating pattern and a temperature sensor on an aluminum nitride substrate which is soldered to the outside of the evaporator. Experiments were performed with several different microstructures as evaporator surfaces under varying heat loads. The first microstructure investigated, a screen mesh, dissipated 2 W/mm2 of heat load but with an unacceptably high evaporator temperature. A sintered copper powder microstructure with particles of 50 μm mean diameter supported 8.5 W/mm2 without dryout. Four sets of particle diameters and different thicknesses for the sintered copper powder evaporators were tested. Additionally, some of the sintered structures were coated with multi-walled carbon nanotubes (CNT) that were rendered hydrophilic. Such nano-structured evaporators successfully showed a further reduction in thermal resistance of the vapor chamber.

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