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Latest Developments in Diamond Cooling of GaN RF Devices
Keywords: Synthetic CVD diamond, GaN-on-Diamond wafer substrates, Novel diamond use for thermal management
The advent of GaN devices, for high-voltage solid-state switching and high-power RF devices, is enabling the ITRS roadmap to power-densities as high as 40W/mm [1]. Thermal-management solutions for these high-power-density devices must go beyond today’s commonly used materials to prevent forcing designers to compromise on performance, or reduce their design thermal margins, impacting product reliability and system efficiencies. Diamond has the highest room temperature thermal conductivity of any commercially available thermal material, which makes it a superlative heat spreader. CVD diamond can be engineered to have a thermal conductivity in the range of 1000-2000 W/mK, or a factor of 5 to 10 over current materials (BeO, AlN, AlSiC) to optimize price/performance for thermal management in semiconductor packages [2]. The commercial availability of large area free standing CVD diamond has opened a host of possible options in which it can be used in the heat management of electronic devices, particularly GaN devices [3]. Recently, GaN-on-Diamond wafer substrates have also become commercially available for the semiconductor industry [4]. Designed for manufacturers of transistor-based circuits with very high power, temperature and frequency, the GaN-on-diamond system enables extremely rapid, efficient and cost-effective heat extraction. This presentation will describe the results of research on accurate measurement of thermal conductivity to enable tailoring CVD synthetic diamond for optimizing thermal management of semiconductor devices. The paper will then describe research on the effectiveness of using diamond heat spreaders for GaN devices done as part of the European MORGaN consortium, of which Element Six as a member. And finally, the presentation will briefly provide the latest update on novel approaches to thermal management of GaN devices, including development of GaN-on-diamond wafer substrates that bring synthetic diamond to within tens of nanometers of GaN devices as well as diamond heat spreaders that minimize the thermal boundary resistance between device and heat spreader.
Brooke Locklin, Semiconductor Sr. Application Engineer
Element Six Technologies US Corporation
Santa Clara, CA

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