A carbon-nanotube-based thermal material has been crafted by researchers at Purdue University to transfer heat away from the densely packed transistors that are increasingly being crammed onto silicon chips. The researchers claim that the material transfers heat away from chips to any heat sink faster than the liquid-cooled method used by many of today's manufacturers. Heat sinks traditionally use metal fins to dissipate heat into the air. Even liquid-cooling fins, which circulate water through their inside channels to an externally cooled reservoir, still need to transfer the heat from the silicon chip to the heat sink. Ordinarily, an electrical insulator like mica, which nevertheless conducts heat, is used between the silicon chip and the heat sink. A thermal-transfer paste is applied to both sides of the mica before it is inserted between the chip and heat sink. The Purdue researchers contend that a carbon nanotube can transfer heat from the chip through the mica and to the sink more that three times more efficiently than paste.