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Developing cooling sol'ns for high performance apps

25 Mar 2014

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A*STAR Institute of Microelectronics (IME) has launched the Silicon Micro Cooler (SMC) consortium that aims to develop integrated thermal management solutions for semiconductor chips with extreme high heat dissipation and local hot spots applications. Members of the consortium include Honeywell Aerospace, Element Six Technologies and an information and telecommunications company.

Thermal management is an important technology area that impacts the performance and reliability of high power high performance applications, such as data centre and networking systems. As the electronics industry continues to trend towards smaller form factor, greater functionality and faster processing speed, the high power dissipation across a smaller chip area can result in hot spots. These are usually high heat flux concentrated in small areas, which could lead to extremely high junction temperature and drastic breakdown of IC devices.

The SMC consortium builds on the R&D capabilities of IME in the field of thermal and fluidics design, deep trench etching, wafer level bonding and system level characterization competency. It aims to develop technologies for thermal solutions required for high heat flux application, develop heat sink design with advanced thermal materials such as synthetic diamond heat spreader, silicon-based micro fabrication, wafer bonding technologies, and demonstrate integrated hybrid silicon micro coolers that are capable of heat dissipation for processors, RF amplifiers and laser diodes applications.

"It is critical for thermal management solutions to keep pace with the increasing requirements of high performance semiconductor modules. Through a collaborative platform where we integrate R&D knowledge with the expertise of stakeholders in the value chain, we believe that the consortium will be successful in the development of novel cooling techniques that will enable the continued advancement of these high performance semiconductor modules," said Dim-Lee Kwong, executive director of A*STAR IME.

"Synthetic diamond has the highest room-temperature thermal conductivity of any commercially available material, and will play an integral role in addressing the semiconductor industry's ever increasing thermal management challenge. Key to maximizing synthetic diamond's effectiveness is the method of its integration into device packages. The SMC consortium will provide a critical platform for Element Six to work with industry partners, to optimize diamond package integration and drive future benefits of this technology for the industry as a whole," said Bruce Bolliger, senior director of Element Six Technologies.

"Participating in A*STAR IME's SMC Consortium is a further step in proactively contributing to the aerospace industry with unique and innovative projects and solutions. We look forward to a successful collaboration with our IME consortium partners in Singapore and are very confident that the collaboration will contribute to our mutual success," noted Soeren Wiener, director AME Engineering Technology Programs of Honeywell Aerospace.




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