The increasing performance of integrated chips has introduced a growing demand for new thermal management technologies. While various thermal management schemes have been studied, thin film evaporation promises high heat dissipation rates (1000 W/cm2) with low thermal resistances. However, methods to form a thin liquid film including jet impingement and sprays have challenges associated with achieving the desired film thickness. In this work, we investigated novel microstructures to control the thickness of the thin film where the liquid is driven by capillarity. Micropillar arrays with diameters ranging from 2 μm to 10 μm, spacings between pillars ranging from 5 μm to 10 μm, and heights of 4.36 μm were studied. A semi-analytical model was developed to predict the propagation rate of the liquid film, which was validated with experiments. The heat transfer performance was investigated on the micropillar arrays with microfabricated heaters and temperature sensors. The behavior of the thin liquid film under varying heat fluxes was studied. This work demonstrates the potential of micro- and nanostructures to dissipate high heat fluxes via thin film evaporation.

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