Beyond Thermal Grease: Enhancing Thermal Performance and Reliability

Power electronics based on silicon devices must operate below 125 °C and IGBTs under 150°C. Future SiC devices could extend this to 200 °C. Thermal management of power electronics requires interfacing the package to a heat sink using a thermal interface material (TIM).

In general this interface is the crucial in terms of the impact on overall thermal impedance and long term reliability. While several greases provide good end of line performance, pump out and separation can degrade thermal performance. Phase change materials as well as gel like, cure-in-place, TIMs can not only match end of line performance of greases, but significantly enhance long term reliability.

Finally, significant automation in the case of these TIMs can enhance productivity and manufacturing. In this presentation we will present options for phase change materials – both roll processed as sheets and die-cut parts as well as compounds that can be screened/stenciled by the end user. In addition, new developments in thin bond line, high thermal conductivity, cure-in-place gels for high reliability.

Author: Sanjay Misra, Ph.D.