Initial Experiments on Thermal Interface Materials for Electronics Packaging

Report No. ARL-TN-0519
Authors: Andrew J. Bayba and Derwin F. Washington
Date/Pages: December 2012; 16 pages
Abstract: Initial experiments on thermal interface materials (TIMs) for millimeter-wave monolithic integrated circuit (MIMIC) packaging were performed. A variety of types of TIMs were evaluated for thermal performance, ease of use, and cost, with the focus being on thermal performance. The top thermal performers were an indium (In) foil, a thermal paste, a phase change material, and graphite, respectively, with thermal pad materials all ranking significantly lower. The In foil and thermal pad (Q-Pad 3) were the easiest to apply and remove, with the most difficult being the phase change material, the thermal paste, and graphite. In terms of cost, the In foil was by far the highest followed by graphite, with the lowest being the thermal pad (Q-Pad 3) and a thermal tape (Bond Ply 100). All in all, of the TIMs tested, the In foil appears to be best suited for our applications, with the benefits of its thermal performance and ease of use outweighing its higher cost.
Distribution: Approved for public release
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Last Update / Reviewed: December 1, 2012