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System Level Thermal Testing 101



The webinar will introduce the principles and techniques of thermal measurements in complex systems.

While a series of standards regulates the methodology of single component measurements enabling easy comparison of power components produced at different vendors; in the system field ad-hoc methods are used in the design phase and also in production testing regarding thermal properties.

Moreover, while the most critical parameter is typically the chip temperature of power components in the system actual measurements are often limited to package or cooling mount temperatures.

In the first section of the presentation classical temperature measurement techniques are treated, yielding pointwise temperature information or surface temperature maps of a package, board or more complex system.

In the second section a generalized picture will be given. As not all system variants can be tested at all possible power profiles there is an emerging need for valid quantities describing system behavior at arbitrary powering in time. The transient thermal testing methodology reveals such system details as heat transfer from one component to the other, influence of board composition and trace patterns on heat spreading, limits of heat sink/cooling mount capabilities and so on.

Descriptive functions will be defined and their use will be illustrated in time and frequency domain.

What You Will Learn

  • Overview of classic thermal measurement techniques
  • Temperature sensitive parameters of semiconductor devices
  • On-chip static and transient measurements in a live system
  • Thermal descriptive functions of a live system:
    • Self- and transfer thermal impedance
    • Time constant spectra
    • Complex loci
    • Structure functions
  • Interpretation of structure functions
  • Calibration and correlation techniques
  • Basic rules of design for thermal testability

About the Presenter

Presenter Image Gabor Farkas

Development engineering manager Mentor Graphics, Mechanical Analysis Division, MicReD in Budapest. Hungary

He received his MS and Ph.D. in electronics engineering from Technical University of Budapest (BME), Hungary. His research area included computer aided recognition of circuit topologies, development of microprocessors and other circuits. He has been senior lecturer at the Dept. of Electron Devices at BME (now part time). He has developed curricula on Programming, Semiconductor Theory, Design of Integrated Circuits, Computer Algorithms and other topics. Since 1990 he has taken part in more European development projects (TEMPUS, BARMINT, PROFIT, NANOPACK etc.). Since 2000 he has worked for MicReD (now within Mentor Graphics). His main field has been developing hardware and software tools and measurement technologies for thermal characterization of semiconductor devices. He speaks English, German and Russian. He has published many technical papers in journals and in conference/workshop proceedings.

Who Should Attend

  • System designers of electronic systems with high power density
  • Thermal engineers
  • Engineers interested in reliability issues


Short case studies will show behavior of processors, RAM modules, multi-chip modules, TIM materials, heat sinks and heat pipes in system-like dummies or real systems, some hints on system design for thermal testability will be given.


Technical Requirements

What do I need to watch and hear this web seminar?

Mentor Graphics’ web seminars are delivered using Adobe Connect. You will be able to login to the seminar room 15 minutes prior to the start time on the day of the presentation. You can hear the audio using your computer’s speakers via VoIP (Voice over IP) and background music will play prior to the beginning of the presentation.

Detailed system requirements

Microsoft® Windows

  • Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer 7, 8, 9, 10; Mozilla Firefox; Google Chrome
  • Adobe® Flash® Player 10.3 or later
  • 1.4GHz Intel® Pentium® 4 or faster processor and 512MB of RAM

Mac OS X

  • Mozilla Firefox; Apple Safari; Google Chrome
  • Adobe Flash Player 10.3
  • 1.83GHz Intel Core™ Duo or faster processor and 512MB of RAM


  • Ubuntu 10.04, 11.04; Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6; OpenSuSE 11.3
  • Mozilla Firefox
  • Adobe Flash Player 10.3


  • Apple supported devices: iPad, iPad2, iPad3; iPhone 4 and 4 S, iPod touch (3rd generation minimum recommended)
  • Apple supported OS versions summary: iOS 4.3.x, 5.x, or 6.x (5.x or higher recommended)
  • Android supported devices: Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 (10.1), Samsung Galaxy Tab (10.1), ASUS Transformer, Samsung Galaxy Tab (7”) , Motorola Xoom, Motorola Xoom 2, Nexus 7
  • Android supported OS versions summary: 2.2 and higher
  • Android AIR Runtime required: 3.2 or higher

Additional requirements

  • Bandwidth: 512Kbps for participants, meeting attendees, and end users of Adobe Connect applications. Connection: DSL/cable (wired connection recommended) for Adobe Connect presenters, administrators, trainers, and event and meeting hosts.
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