Review Article

Thermal Management and Characterization of High-Power Wide-Bandgap Semiconductor Electronic and Photonic Devices in Automotive Applications

[+] Author and Article Information
Seung Kyu Oh

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Texas Center for Superconductivity
at University of Houston, and
Advanced Manufacturing Institute,
University of Houston,
4726 Calhoun Rd., Rm N207,
Houston, TX 77204-4006
e-mail: soh5@centeral.uh.edu

James Spencer Lundh

Department of Mechanical and
Nuclear Engineering,
The Pennsylvania State University,
306 Reber Building,
University Park, PA 16802
e-mail: jvl6065@psu.edu

Shahab Shervin

Department of Mechanical Engineering and
Advanced Manufacturing Institute,
University of Houston,
4726 Calhoun Rd., Rm N207,
Houston, TX 77204-4006
e-mail: sshervin@central.uh.edu

Bikramjit Chatterjee

Department of Mechanical and
Nuclear Engineering,
The Pennsylvania State University,
306 Reber Building,
University Park, PA 16802
e-mail: bpc5244@psu.edu

Dong Kyu Lee

Department of Printed Electronics Engineering,
Sunchon National University,
Suncheon-si 57922, Jeollanam-do, South Korea
e-mail: donggyu@sunchon.ac.kr

Sukwon Choi

Department of Mechanical and
Nuclear Engineering,
The Pennsylvania State University,
306 Reber Building,
University Park, PA 16802
e-mail: sukwon.choi@psu.edu

Joon Seop Kwak

Department of Printed Electronics Engineering,
Sunchon National University,
Suncheon-si 57922, Jeollanam-do, South Korea
e-mail: jskwak@sunchon.ac.kr

Jae-Hyun Ryou

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Materials Science and Engineering Program,
Texas Center for Superconductivity
at University of Houston, and
Advanced Manufacturing Institute,
University of Houston,
4726 Calhoun Rd., Rm N207,
Houston, TX 77204-4006
e-mail: jryou@uh.edu

1The authors contributed equally to the paper.

2Corresponding authors.

Contributed by the Electronic and Photonic Packaging Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF ELECTRONIC PACKAGING. Manuscript received March 21, 2018; final manuscript received October 12, 2018; published online February 25, 2019. Assoc. Editor: Sreekant Narumanchi.

J. Electron. Packag 141(2), 020801 (Feb 25, 2019) (17 pages) Paper No: EP-18-1026; doi: 10.1115/1.4041813 History: Received March 21, 2018; Revised October 12, 2018

GaN-based high-power wide-bandgap semiconductor electronics and photonics have been considered as promising candidates to replace conventional devices for automotive applications due to high energy conversion efficiency, ruggedness, and superior transient performance. However, performance and reliability are detrimentally impacted by significant heat generation in the device active area. Therefore, thermal management plays a critical role in the development of GaN-based high-power electronic and photonic devices. This paper presents a comprehensive review of the thermal management strategies for GaN-based lateral power/RF transistors and light-emitting diodes (LEDs) reported by researchers in both industry and academia. The review is divided into three parts: (1) a survey of thermal metrology techniques, including infrared thermography, Raman thermometry, and thermoreflectance thermal imaging, that have been applied to study GaN electronics and photonics; (2) practical thermal management solutions for GaN power electronics; and (3) packaging techniques and cooling systems for GaN LEDs used in automotive lighting applications.

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Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

Two-dimensional (2D) thermal map of a commercial-grade multifinger GaN high-electron-mobility transistor (HEMT) acquired by infrared thermography, demonstrating the technique's capability for qualitative hotspot identification

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 2

Visualizations of the various photon scattering processes that can occur when a photon of energy 0 is incident upon a material

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 3

Typical Raman spectrum acquired from probing the semiconductor channel region of a GaN HEMT

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 4

Comparison of temperature change in the channel region of a GaN HEMT versus various power dissipation levels measured by infrared and Raman thermography. It should be noted that uncertainty at 95% confidence has been included for the results from Raman thermometry. For infrared thermography, no uncertainty has been reported as this method utilizes built-in software provided by the manufacturer to produce a single 2D thermal map.

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 5

Two-dimensional thermal map (left) and CCD image (right) of a GaN HEMT acquired by thermoreflectance thermal imaging, demonstrating the technique's capability to probe the temperature rise of metallization structures

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 6

Two-dimensional thermal map (left) and CCD image (right) of a GaN micro-LED array acquired by thermoreflectance thermal imaging, demonstrating the technique's applicability to optoelectronic devices

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 7

Peak operating temperatures of HEMTs on various substrates with different thermal conductivities, demonstrating self-heating effects during operation (Reproduced from Ref. [55] with permission, Copyright 2017, AIP Publishing)

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 8

Temperature rise due to self-heating as a function of depth from the device surface into the substrate, recorded at the center of an ungated AlGaN/GaN HEMT device on different substrates measured by Raman spectroscopy (Reproduced from Ref. [64] with permission, Copyright 2007, IEEE)

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 9

(a) Setup for measuring the temperature distributions from the side of the AlGaN/GaN HEMTs on the diamond or SiC substrates. Temperature distribution of the AlGaN/GaN HEMTs on (b) diamond and (c) SiC substrates at a dissipated power of 2 W (3.2 W/mm). (d) Dissipated power dependence of device temperature for AlGaN/GaN HEMTs on the diamond and SiC substrates (Reproduced from Ref. [68] with permission, Copyright 2011, AIP Publishing).

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 10

Schematic views of the process sequence for the transfer of an AlGaN/ GaN HEMT from a sapphire substrate to a copper plate (Reproduced from Ref. [70] with permission, Copyright 2014, AIP Publishing)

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 11

Vertical temperature distributions across epitaxial layers directly under the gate finger for the reference HEMT with a through-wafer source-contact via hole and the HEMT with both a through-wafer source-contact via hole and an additional through Si-substrate via hole under the active area filled with copper (Reproduced from Ref. [72] with permission, Copyright 2014, AIP Publishing)

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 12

Schematic of the FLG-graphite heat spreaders attached to the drain contact of the AlGaN/GaN HEMTs [73]

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 13

Schematic diagram of the AlGaN/GaN HFETs with multilevel metallization (Reproduced from Ref. [77] with permission, Copyright 2017, The Japan Society of Applied Physics)

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 14

Schematics of the flip-chip bonded AlGaN–GaN HFETs with epoxy underfill (Reproduced from Ref. [83] with permission, Copyright 2003, IEEE)

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 15

Light output as a function of time for high-power white LEDs operated at various ambient temperatures (Reproduced from Ref. [88] with permission, Copyright 2005, IEEE)

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 16

Optical part of real a commercial HID headlamp product

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 17

Thermal resistance networks in an LED headlamp for a vehicle

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 18

Typical resistance network for an LED illumination system (Reproduced from Ref. [91] with permission, Copyright 2004, Society of Photo Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE))

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 19

Measured cumulative structure functions of high power LED packages incorporating three different die attach materials (Reproduced from Ref. [95] with permission, Copyright 2005, The Korean Microelectronics and Packaging Society (KMEPS))

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 20

Schematic structure of the (a) insulated metal substrate and (b) metal core printed circuit board (Reproduced from Ref. [106] with permission, Copyright 2012, IEEE)

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 21

Section view of the cooling system: (a) air-cooling system without fins and (b) air-cooling system with fins installed (Reproduced from Ref. [113] with permission, Copyright 2008, IEEE)



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