Alternative interconnect strategies are being considered in place of the standard wire bond interconnect for GaAs power amplifier MMIC devices due to cost and electrical performance improvements. The package/die thermal performance consequences are potentially high-risk issue to these interconnect strategies and requires evaluation. Thermal simulations are conducted to compare and evaluate the thermal performances of three interconnect strategies: wire bond, gold post-flip chip, and through via interconnects. The test vehicle simulated is a three-stage, dual band power amplifier integrated circuit dissipating approximately 5 W steady-state power. Parametric studies are conducted to evaluate the impact of the printed circuit board, die thickness, solid gold vias, and design enhancements on package thermal performance.
Best thermal performance is provided by a wire bonded, thin GaAs die attached with solder die attach to a printed circuit board that maximizes the number of plated-through-holes directly under the die. This configuration results in a best case junction-to-heat sink thermal resistance of 12 °C/W. Optimum flip chip and through via designs result in degraded thermal performance compared to the above described wire bond design but may have acceptable thermal performance. For these simulations, predicted junction-to-heatsink thermal resistance is in a range of 15–20 °C/W and is better than a comparable wire bonded design that uses a conductive epoxy die attach material.