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The Use of Thick Film Hybrid Circuits in Automotive Power Modules
Keywords: thick film, ceramic, hirel
The Automotive market for Integrated Power Modules (IPMs) is growing steadily with new and developing applications being driven by the need for greater fuel efficiency, reduced emissions, improved safety and comfort features for the driver and the emergence of the hybrid vehicle market. This growth is being accompanied by a demand for higher integration, increased performance, zero defects and greater power densities. Typical metallised substrate technologies such as Insulated Metal (IMS) and Direct Bonded Copper (DBC) substrates are employed as carriers for the power components such as IGBTs and MOSFETs. These high power devices must be mounted to a heatsink which is generally located on the base of the module. Printable Thick Film technology, realised on Alumina (Aluminium Oxide Ceramic) substrates enables the lower power, signal-level control circuitry to be mounted on a separate substrate positioned above the high-power substrate thus optimising the level of integration whilst minimising the footprint of the module for maximum power density. Thick Film packaging technology is widely used in harsh environments where extremes of power / thermal dissipation and humidity are to be found. The technology has been a main stay of the Automotive Industry for many years in applications demanding of safety and reliability, such as ECUs, ABS and more recently, in Electronic Stability Control (ESC) programs. Thick Film offers considerable flexibility of design and manufacture being easily adapted to both small batch and high volume requirements. It is ideally suited to providing high reliability control circuitry in power module applications where ambient temperatures may range from -55degC to +150degC and where conventional PCB assemblies fall short in meeting stringent performance criteria. This paper describes the flexibility and benefits offered by Thick Film Ceramic Substrate technology for power module applications such as Electric/Electronic Power Steering, Integrated Starter Alternators, Hybrid electric Powertrain controllers and other power management requirements.
Ken Henderson , General Manager - Automotive
C-MAC MicroTechnology
Dollar, Scotland FK14 7EB,

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