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Review Article

Mechanical Characterization of Thermal Interface Materials and its Challenges

[+] Author and Article Information
Vijay Subramanian

Intel Corporation, 5000 W Chandler Blvd, Chandler, AZ 85226
vijay.subramanian@intel.com

Jorge Sanchez

Intel Corporation, 5000 W Chandler Blvd, Chandler, AZ 85226
jorge.dpd.sanchez@intel.com

Joseph Bautista

Intel Corporation, 5000 W Chandler Blvd, Chandler, AZ 85226
joseph.bautista@intel.com

Yi He

Intel Corporation, 5000 W Chandler Blvd, Chandler, AZ 85226
yi.he@intel.com

Jinlin Wang

Intel Corporation, 5000 W Chandler Blvd, Chandler, AZ 85226
jinlin.wang@intel.com

Abhishek Das

Intel Corporation, 5200 NE Elam Young Pkwy, Hillsboro, OR 97124
abhishek.das@intel.com

Jesus Gerardo Reyes Schuldes

Intel Corporation, 5000 W Chandler Blvd, Chandler, AZ 85226
jesus.gerardo.reyes.schuldes@intel.com

Kyle Yazzie

Intel Corporation, 5000 W Chandler Blvd, Chandler, AZ 85226
kyle.yazzie@intel.com

Dr. Hemanth K. Dhavaleswarapu

Intel Corporation, 5000 W Chandler Blvd, Chandler, AZ 85226
hemanth.k.dhavaleswarapu@intel.com

Pramod Malatkar

Intel Corporation, 5000 W Chandler Blvd, Chandler, AZ 85226
pramod.malatkar@intel.com

1Corresponding author.

ASME doi:10.1115/1.4042805 History: Received October 15, 2018; Revised February 07, 2019

Abstract

Thermal interface materials (TIM) play a vital role in the performance of electronic packages by enabling improved heat dissipation. For some semiconductor components, thermal solutions are attached directly to the bare silicon die using TIM materials, while other components use an integrated heat spreader (IHS) attached on top of the die(s) and the thermal solution attached on top of the IHS. For cases with an IHS, two TIM materials are used - TIM1 is applied between the silicon die and IHS and TIM2 are used between IHS and thermal solution. During reliability testing, TIM materials are prone to degradation which in turn leads to a reduction in the thermal performance of the product. Therefore, in order to identify viable TIM materials, characterization of the thermo-mechanical behavior of these materials becomes important. However, developing effective metrologies for TIM characterization is difficult for two reasons: the soft nature of TIM materials, and sample thickness. Therefore, a well-designed test setup and a repeatable sample preparation and test procedure are needed to overcome these challenges and to obtain reliable data. In this paper, we will share some of the TIM characterization techniques developed for TIM material down-selection. The focus will be on mechanical characterization of TIM materials - including modulus, compression set, the coefficient of thermal expansion, adhesion strength, and pump-out/bleed-out measurement techniques. Also, results from several TIM formulations, such as polymer TIMs and thermal gap pads, will be shared.

Copyright (c) 2019 by ASME
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