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Measuring the Real World

I believe in simulation and its effectiveness. I’ve seen how much money it can save. I’m also not the most patient person on the face of the planet. Therefore, I like simulation because it can give fast answers to rather big questions. But sometimes you need more.  Sometimes you also need to measure the real world.

This is especially true in the world of semiconductors. You see heat dissipation in semiconductor packages is one of the limiting factors in miniaturization. One of the biggest concerns of circuit designers is reducing power that is continuously increasing due to bandwidths. As a result, the chip temperature increases. This change first modifies and then later destroys the operation of the circuit if the heat is not correctly led out of the device.

T3Ster at work. Image courtesy of Mentor Graphics.

T3Ster at work. Image courtesy of Mentor Graphics.

Being able to understand the true thermal characteristics of a chip that will go inside an enclosure which is jam packed with other heat generating equipment can be very helpful. While most manufacturers publish thermal metrics for their chips, unfortunately not every manufacturer knows how to conduct an appropriate thermal characterization of their devices. So you can’t always rely on published metrics. One sure fire way that semiconductor manufacturers can provide accurate information to their customers is with the aid of thermal measurement hardware such as T3Ster.

T3Ster is an advanced thermal tester for thermal characterization of semiconductor device packages. It produces all kinds of package thermal characteristics in just a few minutes. It can help you obtain extremely accurate temperature measurements (microsecond resolution in time). You can also verify model geometry and material properties easily as well as conduct in-situ non destructive failure analysis among many other things. I should also point out that T3Ster provides JEDEC compliant thermal resistance measurements and dynamic characterization – thanks to the heavy involvement of the development team with the JEDEC group.

Among the market leading organizations using T3Ster is NXP Semiconductors.  NXP provides high performance mixed signal and standard product solutions that are used in a wide range of automotive, wireless, lighting, industrial and mobile applications. They have used T3Ster to develop thermal models of chip packages. They use T3Ster to measure the thermal resistance of their packages in customer specific environments. They have been able to assure their customers that their compact thermal models are correct while showing them how the heat can be dissipated to the environment as well as the impact of possible faults that may occur during board assembly. You can learn more about what they do and how they continually not only meet but also exceed their customer expectations, by following this link.

If you are interested in learning more about how to use hardware testing devices such as T3Ster, then please watch an on-demand presentation titled Component Thermal Characterization Made Easy. The presentation will give you an understanding of the strengths of measurement and analysis when determining the thermal performance of an IC package and the various thermal performance metrics. In addition it will show you what is necessary to develop a robust Compact Thermal Model (CTM).

And if you’d like to learn more about this field, we will be publishing a whitepaper titled Ten Good Reasons Why Thermal Measurements are Important to Your Design in a couple of weeks so please check back with the Whitepapers section of the website to download your free copy. Lastly, I should remind you that we will be adding several new events late summer about the topic at hand so please check with our Events page  on a regular basis.

Until next time,
Nazita

Thermal, T3ster, CTM, JEDEC, characteristics, package, Semiconductor, measurement hardware, NXP Semiconductors

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About Nazita Saye

Nazita SayeI have been involved with the CFD user community in one shape or another since 1999 -- when the NIKA team first introduced FloWorks to the engineering community. Over the years I've seen the market evolve and I still marvel at the wide range of products that are being designed with our tools. As the Manager of External Communications for the Mechanical Analysis Division at Mentor, it is my privilege to bring some of our customer stories to you. Visit CFD doesn’t mean Color For Directors

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