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Thermal Interface Materials & the Pursuit of Greater Processing Power

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Thermal Interface Materials & the Pursuit of Greater Processing Power

May 23, 2022

The advancement of microelectronics has seen some of its greatest strides over the recent years. Although Moore’s Law, in its strictest definition, is no longer achievable, the advancement in computing power continues to push on by always deploying creative workarounds.

With continually increasing computing power, however, thermal design power (TDP) also inadvertently increases in order to keep up with the power output of the processor. When processors overheat, smart processing speed throttling kicks in to temporarily decrease processing power in order to allow for a faster cooling of the processor. It is hence obvious that in the pursuit of greater computing power, thermal management is just as important as processing speed.

One of the major factors that determine thermal dissipation is the ability of the processing unit to transfer its produced heat to the heatsink more quickly and efficiently. This is where thermal interface materials come in.

Without Thermal Interface Materials, the thermal contact between the processing unit and the heat spreader, as well as that between the heat spreader and the heatsink, only works out to about 1 – 2% of their apparent surface area. This is one of the most obvious bottlenecks in the dissipation of thermal energy out of the processing unit. Thermal Interface Materials allow for a much more thorough thermal contact, hence greatly increasing heat dissipation.

Hence, here at LISAT, we see the importance of developing better Thermal Interface Materials in preparation for the seemingly accelerating processing power capabilities of the future. Our innovation engine strives for this.