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Power electronics thermal solutions using thermally conductive polyimide films
Keywords: Direct Bond Copper, Thermal conductivity, Reliability
Power electronics thermal solutions using thermally conductive polyimide films Rajesh Tripathi,* Sejin Im,* Douglas Devoto,** Joshua Major,** Sreekant Narumanchi, ** Paul Paret, ** Xuhui Feng** *Electronics and Imaging, Specialty Products Division of DowDuPont **National Renewable Energy Laboratory, USA Increased adoption of hybrid and electrical vehicles as well as renewable energy systems are driving the innovation in power module packaging. Thermal substrate, one of the major components of power modules, is not an exception, and technological advancements are necessary to meet increased reliability requirements. DuPont has developed a thermally conductive polymer film that provides very low thermal resistance and very high insulation. The film can be bonded to conductive and thick metallic layers and this polymer equivalent of DBC shows very high reliability in addition to high performance characteristics. Electrically insulating layers within a power electronics module are critical for separating circuitry from thermal management layers. Electrical insulating substrates typically used in power electronics modules utilize a ceramic layer, comprised most commonly of either Al2O3, AlN, or Si3N4. Thin Cu layers are bonded to either side of the substrate using a direct bond Cu (DBC) or active metal brazing (AMB) process. These processes involve bonding metallization layers to both sides of the ceramic at a high temperature as bonding to only one side would cause deformation during the cooling phase. Typical metal thickness bonded to either side of the ceramic is about 0.3-0.6 mm as the high temperature manufacturing process does not allow very thick metals to be bonded and this limits the heat spreading capability of the thermal substrate. DuPont’s new Temprion™ Organic Direct Bond Copper (ODBC) address aforementioned problems, increasing thermal durability and reliability as well as enabling system layer suppression. Temprion™ ODBC’s dielectric layer will absorb thermo-mechanical stress from the metals due to CTE mismatch, dramatically improving durability of the system. In addition, various kinds of metals including Cu and Al can be easily bonded to Temprion™ DB films through simple process. There are no thickness limitations on bonding metal sheets and metal attached at the bottom can be used as an integrated heat sink/baseplate. Al2O3 and Si3N4-based substrates were utilized as a baseline for reliability comparison with the DuPont substrates. The industry-standard substrates in used in this study have a thickness of 0.3 and 0.8 mm for the Cu metallization layers and 0.38 and 0.32 mm for the insulating layer respectively for Al2O3 an Si3N4 insulators. DuPont ODBC substrates were fabricated by attaching a polyimide layer to a layer of 0.8-mm-thick Cu. The polyimide and bottom Cu layer cross-sectional footprints are both 50.8 mm x 50.8 mm. The corners of both layers were filleted with various radii (0.5, 1.0, 2.0, and reversed 2.0 mm) to explore the impact of different stress concentrations between the metallization and insulating layers. The top Cu metallization was inset 2.0 mm from the perimeter of the electrically-insulating substrate and bottom Cu metallization. • 10 samples each of the DuPont ODBC and industry Al2O3 substrates were placed in a thermal shock chamber and cycled between temperature extremes of -40°C and 200°C. Substrates were inspected every 1000 cycles. After 5000 cycles, the ODBC substrates experienced no hipot failures, but preliminary edge delamination was visually observed. Al2O3 substrates all failed after 50 thermal cycles. • Five DuPont ODBC samples were placed in a thermal chamber and subjected to an elevated temperature of 175°C. After 2000 hours, no hipot failures were observed, but edge delamination was again observed. • Five DuPont ODBC samples were attached to a cold plate with Kapton tape. Heater cartridges were attached to the top of the substrates with Kapton tape and thermocouples were placed in several locations through the package. The heater cartridges were alternated between on and off states to allow for the substrates to cycle between -40°C and +200°C. While the change between the maximum and minimum temperatures is smaller for the power cycling test compared to the thermal cycling test, the heater cartridge and cold plate create a thermal gradient within the samples that is not possible with passive thermal cycling. After 2000 hrs cycles of testing, no hipot failures or edge delamination have been observed. Herein we show that the DuPont ODBC substrate design is a promising alternative to traditional industry substrates based on ceramic insulators. The reliability of the substrate design has been demonstrated under several thermomechanical accelerated tests and the electrical and thermal performance has been measured. Future work will include reliability comparisons to other industry substrates, including thermal shock testing of substrates with HPS, AlN, and Si3N4 ceramic layers. Thermal models will correlate thermal resistance values measured by the transient thermal tester and compare the ODBC substrate performance to industry substrates within a commercialized power electronics module. The modeling will also optimize the thickness of the metallization layers within the ODBC substrates to minimize the junction temperature of the switching devices.
Rajesh Tripathi,
DuPont
Wilmington, DE
USA


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