The heat generation rates of high performance electronics motivate the development of new thermal management solutions. Thin film evaporation with a jet impingement or spray system promise high heat fluxes up to 1000 W/cm2 with low thermal resistances. However, challenges with implementation currently limit the ability to reach the theoretical limits. In this work, we investigated the utilization of micro-/nanostructured surfaces to control the liquid film thickness and provide a sufficient liquid flow rate to achieve high heat removal rates. We developed a model to predict the propagation rates of the liquid film, which accounted for the curvature of the liquid meniscus. We also fabricated test devices with pillar diameters ranging from 500 nm to 10 μm, spacings of 3.5 μm to 10 μm, and heights of 5 μm to 15 μm, and validated the model with confocal microscopy and high speed imaging. Heaters and temperature sensors were also integrated onto the back side of the chip to investigate heat transfer performance. When heat was applied, the structures significantly enhanced the heat dissipation rates and reduced the thermal resistance. The heat dissipation rate was also found to be positively correlated to the propagation rate of the liquid film. However, surface fouling in the experiments led to challenges to maintain a stable liquid film, and decreased the heat removal capability. This work provides insights to designing micro-/nanostructured surfaces for thin film evaporation to meet the heat dissipation demands of future high performance electronic systems.

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