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Cool running

How thermal simulation can reduce ic cost by comparing flip chip/wire bond thermal performance. By Mark Patterson.

Some time ago, AMCC began using thermal simulation software, which makes it possible to produce detailed models that reconstruct the physical geometry of the package and predict accurately the temperature of the various elements within the package under a variety of conditions. The simulation results are used to evaluate the thermal performance of the device and to provide thermal design guidelines to customers, including what volume and temperature of airflow is required to maintain junction temperatures at safe levels.
Originally, maintaining the accuracy of the simulation required an intricate manual process that involved replicating the geometry of the die and package as well as lengthy simulations related to the complexity of the chip geometry. In the last several years, AMCC has taken advantage of technology that reduces the amount of time required to simulate the thermal performance of new chip designs.
The company uses Flomerics’ Flopack website (, which reduces the time required to model the thermal performance of chip designs. Via a web browser, users can enter data which describes the ic. The website then creates a model of the device, which can then be incorporated into a thermal simulation. The user has the choice of creating a full detail geometric model or a behavioural compact model. Compact models can predict the temperature of electronic component packages at critical points such as the junction, case and board in far less time than is required with conventional detailed models.

Mark Patterson

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