Thermal interface materials (TIMs) are extensively used in thermal management applications especially in the microelectronics industry. With the advancement in microprocessors design and speed, the thermal management is becoming more complex. With these advancements in microelectronics, there have been parallel advancements in thermal interface materials. Given the vast number of available TIM types, selection of the material for each specific application is crucial. Most of the metrologies currently available on the market are designed to qualify TIMs between two perfectly flat surfaces, mimicking an ideal scenario. However, in realistic applications parallel surfaces may not be the case. In this study, a unique characterization method is proposed to address the need for TIMs characterization between non-parallel surfaces. Two different metrologies are custom-designed and built to measure the impact of tilt angle on the performance of TIMs. The first metrology, Angular TIM Tester, is based on the ASTM D5470 standard with flexibility to perform characterization of the sample under induced tilt angle of the rods. The second metrology, Bare Die Tilting Metrology, is designed to validate the performance of TIM under induced tilt angle between the bare die and the cooling solution in an "in-situ" package testing format. Several types of off-the-shelf thermal interface materials were tested and the results are outlined in the study. Data were collected using both metrologies for all selected materials. It was found that small tilt angles, up to 0.6°, have an impact on thermal resistance of all materials especially for in-situ testing. In addition, resistance change between 0° and the selected tilt angle was found to be in close agreement between the two metrologies for paste-based materials and phase-change material. However, a clear difference in the thermal performance of the tested materials was observed between the two metrologies for the gap filler materials.
- Thermal interface material characterization under thermo-mechanical stress of induced angle of tilt
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by Enisa Harris