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A*STAR Institute of Microelectronics launches Silicon Micro Cooler Consortium

Ike Suarez | March 21, 2014
Collaborative R & D effort will develop thermal management solutions for semiconductor chips

The A*STAR Institute of Microelectronics (IME) has launched  the Silicon Micro Cooler (SMC) consortium, according to an announcement by this public sector agency tasked to lead the R & D effort to bring about a Singaporean economy that is knowledge-based and innovation driven.

The consortium will collaborate to develop thermal management solutions for semiconductor chips with extreme high heat dissipation and local hot spots applications.

Consortium Members

SMC consortium members include Element Six Technologies, Honeywell Aerospace, and an information and telecommunications company.

The first is a Luxembourg-based manufacturer of synthetic diamonds while the second is a Phoenix, Arizona-based manufacturer of aircraft and avionics.

The announcement explained that as a technology, thermal management influences the functioning and reliability of high power, high performance applications such as data centers and networking systems.

As trends in the electronics industry continue to lead towards smaller form factor, greater functionality and faster processing speeds, the high power dissipation across a smaller chip area could result in hot spots.

The announcement explained that these are usually high flux concentrated in small areas. Such concentrations could lead to extremely high junction temperatures and drastic breakdowns in integrated circuit devices.

Responding to this challenge, the SMC consortium will seek to develop novel cooling techniques to enable continued advancements of high performance semiconductor modules.

Diamonds are the best friends

The announcement explained that at room temperatures, synthetic diamonds have the highest thermal conductivity among all commercially available materials.

Thus, they will play an integral role in addressing thermal challenges to the semiconductor industry.

On the other hand, the R & D effort would also contribute to proactive development of projects and solutions for the aerospace industry.

Observers have noted that Singapore now has a robustly growing aerospace industry with air-to-tail capabilities, due to the increased presence of the industry's  major global players.

The announcement said the SMC consortium's R & D efforts would build on IME's capabilities in thermal and fluidics design, deep trench etching, wafer level bonding and system level characterization competency.

IME is a research institution of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR).




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