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ethermVIEW uses TLC colour response for PCB thermal management

10 Jan 2014

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The ethermVIEW liquid crystal thermographic analysis system from Advanced Thermal Solutions allows for optical temperature measurements of active PCBs and components. The company says the system uses the colour response of thermochromic liquid crystals (TLC) for non-invasive thermal management studies. The ethermVIEW system includes a solid-state colour camera for macroscopic investigations of boards and components treated with heat-sensitive TLC materials.

The camera in the ethermVIEW system features a flicker-free white light source that provides clear viewing of dark surfaces and partially concealed elements. The camera connects to a PC by Firewire, the standard connection for high-definition video devices. For image processing and management on the PC, the system uses thermSOFT, a proprietary software program included in other thermal analysis devices manufactured by ATS. The ethermVIEW system is provided with a transformer for international use.

In contrast to infrared thermography systems, the ethermVIEW TLC method is not affected by ambient temperatures and provides more precise temperature measurements – within ± 0.1°C accuracy. The ethermVIEW system can also be purchased for less than a third of the cost of a typical IR thermography system.

Liquid crystals used with ethermVIEW studies reflect incident light at visible wave lengths based on the temperature of the surface to which they're applied. EthermVIEW captures the reactive TLC colours to reveal hot spots and defects, and to develop and verify more effective thermal management solutions.

ATS provides a choice of TLC-100 liquid crystals formulated to respond visually to specific temperatures. TLC-100 crystals are specifically designed for heat transfer studies and mapping heat fields on electronic boards and components. The crystals change colour at a specified temperature starting at red, changing to green, then blue. For electronics cooling applications, this provides the user accurate information about the location of hot spots on a device, along with their temperature and temperature gradient. When the ethermVIEW system is properly calibrated, any standard thermochromic liquid crystal material can be used for thermal studies. ATS provides four calibrations at no cost during the first year of ownership of an ethermVIEW system.

Starting price for the ethermVIEW thermographic analysis system is $15,000, depending on configuration and volume of liquid crystals provided.




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