Two-phase microchannel heat sinks are promising for the cooling of high power VLSI chips, in part because they can alleviate spatial temperature variations, or hotspots. Hotspots increase the maximum junction temperature for a given total chip power, thereby degrading electromigration reliability of interconnects and inducing strong variations in the signal delay on the chip. This work develops a modeling approach to determine the impact of conduction and convection on hotspot cooling for a VLSI chip attached to a microchannel heat sink. The calculation approach solves the steady-state two-dimensional heat conduction equations with boundary conditions of spatially varying heat transfer coefficient and water temperature profile. These boundary conditions are obtained from a one-dimensional homogeneous two-phase model developed in previous work, which has been experimentally verified through temperature distribution and total pressure drop measurements. The new simulation explores the effect of microchannels on hotspot alleviation for 20 mm × 20 mm silicon chips subjected to spatially varying heat generation totaling 150 W. The results indicate that a microchannel heat sink of thickness near 500 μm can yield far better temperature uniformity than a copper spreader of thickness 1.5 mm.

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