Mentor Graphics White Paper: 10 Key Challenges In Electronics Thermal Design


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Miniaturization of electronics is continuing to increase power densities at all packaging levels. Miniaturization arises from cost reduction, being the key driver in many industry sectors, resulting in increasingly tighter design margins and less tolerance of over-design. This is particularly true in the physical design of the product, where over-design results in additional weight, volume, and in some cases manufacturing and assembly costs, increasing the cost of the final product.

Removing heat is critical to the operation and long-term reliability of electronics. Component temperatures within specification are the universal criteria used to determine the acceptability of a design. Cooling solutions directly add weight, volume, and cost to the product, without delivering any functional benefit. What they provide is reliability. Without cooling, most electronics products would fail in a matter of minutes. Leakage current and thus leakage power goes up with smaller die-level feature sizes, and because leakage is temperature-dependent, thermal design is more important, as is the need to preserve power for Internet-of-Things (IoT) connected devices.

How, then, should engineering managers in organizations engaged in developing products that include complex and/or high-power electronics ensure the thermal performance of their products while meeting other design criteria?

To answer this question, we explore the following 10 key challenges in electronics thermal design.

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