Carbon nanotube (CNT) arrays are attractive thermal interface materials with high compliance and conductance that can remain effective over a wide temperature range. Here we study CNT interface structures in which free CNT ends are bonded using palladium hexadecanethiolate Pd(SC16H35)2 to an opposing substrate (one-sided interface) or opposing CNT array (two-sided interface) to enhance contact conductance while maintaining a compliant joint. The palladium weld is particularly attractive for its mechanical stability at high temperatures. A transient photoacoustic (PA) method is used to measure the thermal resistance of the palladium bonded CNT interfaces. The interfaces were bonded at moderate pressures and then tested at 34 kPa using the PA technique. At an interface temperature of approximately 250°C, one-sided and two-sided palladium bonded interfaces achieved thermal resistances near 10 mm2K/W and 5 mm2K/W, respectively.

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