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John O | March 2019

Recent materials science research seeks to reduce thermal resistance between die and package

By Josh Perry, Editor


According to a recent article from EDN.com, university researchers are exploring methods for enhancing thermal management of high-powered devices by improving the connection and reducing thermal resistance between the device die and its packaging.


Diamond is one material that researchers are studying to improve thermal management at the device die-level. (Wikimedia Commons)


One example presented by EDN executive editor Bill Schweber was from the University of Illinois at Chicago, which used an experimental transistor with silicon oxide in the base, a 2-D layer of carbide and aluminum oxide as an encapsulating layer. The researchers saw an improvement in the thermal boundary conductance.


The research can be found at https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/adma.201801629.


Other researchers highlighted in the article are using single-crystal diamond layers to enhance thermal conductivity. Diamond, as the article notes, has a thermal conductivity of 895 W/mK, which is more than double that of copper, as well as being an electrical insulator. Schweber points to five different vendors that are using diamond as a material in packaging solutions.


“Perhaps an unforeseen and unintended consequence of using diamonds in active and passive devices would be the wider, mass attention such work might receive and even attract some more students to the arcane world of materials science and associated physics,” Schweber wrote.


“Maybe it will get the industry and individuals some much-deserved attention, revealing how researchers and engineers are looking at creative ways to solve long-standing problems, drawing some of the ‘limelight’ that otherwise goes to celebrities of unclear or undetermined talent?”

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