Abstract

As technology becomes more electrified, thermal and power engineers need to know how to improve power modules to realize their full potential. Current power module technology involves planar ceramic-based substrates with wirebond interconnects and a detached heat sink. There are a number of well-known challenges with the current configuration including heat removal, reliability due to coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) mismatch, and parasitic inductance. Various solutions have been proposed in literature to help solve many of these issues: alternate substrates, advanced thermal interface materials, compliant die attach, thermal ground planes, high performing heat sinks, superconducting copper, wirebondless configurations, etc. While each of these technologies have their merits, this paper will perform a holistic analysis on a power module and identify the impact of improving various technologies on the device temperature. Parametric simulations were performed to assess the impact of many aspects of power module design including material selection, device layout, and heat sink choice. Materials that have been investigated include die attach, substrate, heat spreader, and thermal interface materials. In all cases, the industry standard was compared to the state of the art to quantify the advantages and/or disadvantages of adopting the new technologies. A sensitivity analysis is also performed which shows how and where the biggest benefits could be realized when redesigning power modules and determining whether to integrate novel technologies.

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