Power electronics - found across applications from smart grids to transportation systems, modern factories to data centers and renewable energy infrastructure - are delivering increasing capability in more compact footprints.
At the same time, new power semiconductor technologies offer improved performance, extending efficiencies and the operating temperature range. For example, power electronics based on silicon must operate below 125°C (257°F), IGBTs at under 150°C (302°F), and emerging gallium nitride (GaN) wide bandgap semiconductors can push operational temperatures to 200°C (392°F).
Together, these factors are resulting in higher power densities and larger thermal loads, making thermal management of power electronics – whether power supplies or components – more important than ever before. Pushing devices beyond their recommended safe operating temperatures can limit performance efficiency, reduce working life, or - worst case - cause catastrophic failure.
Thoughtful design of thermal management strategy, including robust thermal interface materials (TIM), can help avoid these situations.