Reliable high-density, high-performance, and for some applications, high-power microelectronics with an incredibly powerful, integrated cooling capacity. TNO’s High Performance Thermal Management Technology is making it possible.

Whether regarding power electronics in electric vehicles, server boards in data-centre racks, or 5G/6G antenna base stations, microelectronics manufacturers and suppliers are constantly challenged to improve the performance of their products. Electric-vehicle owners want longer ranges, while data centres are always on the lookout for installations that will take up less valuable floor space and use less power. Developers of antenna base stations seek sustainable, lightning-fast communication in ever-smaller, more efficient telecom infrastructures.

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Hundreds of times more capacity through integrated device cooling

An important way to improve the performance of microelectronics, as well as the packages into which they’re integrated, is to increase their energy density. Doing so requires the most efficient cooling possible. This can be through upscaling or downscaling, but usually, both go hand in hand: performance is upscaled while weight and size are downscaled, also regarding cooling.

TNO’s High Performance Thermal Management Technology is the solution to this twofold challenge. The technology offers hundreds of times more cooling capacity than conventional applications while being integrated, on a small scale, close or into the microelectronics themselves, thus using much less space.

Technology for active thermal management

TNO has developed and patented the disruptive microfluidic, two-phase cooling technology, which features:

  • An ultrathin cooling body (0.1 mm+)
  • An extremely high (500x higher) heat-transfer coefficient (>100 watt/cm2)
  • An extremely low (500x lower) flow rate
  • A cooling body that can be bonded on silicon wafers
  • Manufacturing made possible by a range of cost-efficient techniques

The technology can be applied in numerous fields – from data centres and electric vehicles to microelectronics and active thermal management for LEDs.

Application in data centres

One of the application areas of this new technology is in microelectronics integrated into the server boards mounted in data-centre server racks.

TNO’s direct-to-chip or in-chip active cold-plate liquid-cooling technology enables the following:

  • (Hyperscale) data centres with powerful server cards with GPUs and CPUs reaching thermal design powers (TDP) in excess of 400 watts and higher, in combination with highly efficient cooling
  • Supercomputers/high-performance computing (HPC) not limited by excessive GPU/CPU temperatures.
  • Efficient artificial-intelligence (AI) infrastructures
  • Highly efficient microchannel chip cooling that will reduce global energy consumption in many application areas.

High cooling capacity for electronic Vehicles

A second application area concerns the power electronics integrated into electric cars, so-called EV power electronics. These include inverters, on-board chargers (OBC), electric motors, battery packs and battery cells/stacks.

TNO’s microfluidic, two-phase cooling technology enables the following:

  • In-situ, small-scale inverter cooling
  • Microchannel-cooled electric motors
  • Small-scale, highly efficient, built-in charging systems
  • Lightweight battery pack systems with optimal direct to battery or in battery cooling characteristics
  • Integration options for all cooling circuits

With this, microfluidic cooling technology is making an important contribution to the downscaling of electronic car components, leading to weight savings and increased ranges. Important advantages for consumers (which may also convince non-electric drivers) are shorter charging times and greater battery capacities in electric vehicles, thus increasing their range.

PCB Microelectronics

A third application area is that of high-density, high-complexity, and in some applications, high-power microelectronics on interconnected printed circuit boards (PCBs).

TNO’s microfluidic, two-phase cooling technology enables the following:

  • In-package (PCB-level) microfluidic cooling
  • Double-sided microfluidic device cooling within packages
  • Hotspot prevention of devices at high temperatures

Cooling of 5G/6G antenna base stations

Manufacturers of antenna base stations are faced with an ever-increasing need for cooling, as the density in antenna cabinets continues to increase. At present, passive cooling is used via cooling fins on the antenna. Microfluidic, two-phase cooling technology is making active cooling an option by cooling the antenna box using a closed-loop, two-phase solution.

Thanks to greatly improved cooling, manufacturers can build more compact antenna base stations, which are easier to install and are less visually polluting of urban and natural landscapes. Their compactness also opens up new integration possibilities, in lampposts, for example.

What can TNO offer?

  • Ultimate thermal fluidic design for the demanding applications
  • Employing advanced modelling & thermal/ flow experience
  • Development of ultimate manufacturing method (AM / Conventional)
  • Validation of the concept by lab experiments & Execution runs
  • Support to your R&D team (system engineering, control engineering, process intensification) for complex projects
  • IP license for your field of use

Would you like to know more or get involved?

Are you active in the semiconductor, automotive, or another industry faced with cooling challenges? Would you like to know more about TNO’s High Performance Thermal Management Technology and find out what we can do for you? Get in touch with Patrique Boerboom.

Get in touch with Patrique Boerboom

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Semiconductor equipment.

Every day, equipment manufacturers strive to make chips smaller, more efficient, and more powerful. And every day, they face challenges related to creating these chips in the most cost-efficient way possible.... Read more
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Patrique Boerboom BSc

  • Semicon
  • High Tech Systems
  • ASMI
  • NXP
  • ALSI