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Development and Application of Copper-Graphite Composite Thermal Control Cores for High-Reliability PCBs for GaN RF System
Keywords: CTE-Matched, GaN RF, PCB
A description will be given of recent developments for composite CTE-matched thermal control cores for complex multilayer organic printed circuit boards which provide: a. High in-plane and through-plane thermal conductivity; b. Selected CTE values tailored to match device CTE (GaN, SiC, or Si); c. Manufacturing suitability for replacement of heavy copper thermal layers within high-reliability multilayer PCBs. This presentation will: - Identify market requirements and needs; - Describe development and applications of large panel forms of very thin copper-graphite composites manufactured to meet targeted thicknesses; - Show comparative test data for thermal conductivity, CTE, density for related materials; - Illustrate applications and provide examples. This development program includes testing by a major aerospace manufacturer for development of thermal control core materials for complex PCBs set targets. A European Union OEM undertaken a design and test program for innovative phased array radar modules using this concept. Examples will be shown. Development of thermal control core materials for conduction-cooled printed circuit boards with as many as 21 layers, for high heat flux GaN RF to be soldered has recently been completed for the initial target material requirements. A stretch goal has been completed. Testing and analysis of PCB manufacturing processes utilizing these composite panels were conducted by three PCB manufacturers (two US, one EU-based), with manufacturability prove-out. Complex multilayer RF PCBs have been manufactured for seven different programs and are in test. A manufacturing cost reduction program for core materials is underway.
David L Saums, Principal
DS&A LLC
Amesbury, MA
USA


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