In the continuing effort to alleviate the increasing thermal loads for power electronics devices, numerous aggressive solutions have been developed, such as small-scale micro-channel heat exchangers. Although these methods can improve overall surface heat transfer to the order of 500 W cm−2, they are limited to single-sided cooling due to the typical wire-bonded electrical connections of the devices. Power overlay (POL) technology provides a stable planar structure for electrical connection, as well as attachment of an additional top-side heat exchanger. This study presents an analysis of double-sided microchannel cooling of a power electronics module. Two optimized, integral micro-channel heat sinks were attached above and below silicon power devices, with more traditional attachment on one side and a POL interface on the other. A compliant TIM was selected for low thermal resistance and good mechanical response, which allowed top-side connection to the POL surface. A theoretical model is presented that predicts the benefit of double-sided cooling based on the known performance of a single-sided heat sink and given addition thermal contact resistance for the top side. For microchannels with water, an enhancement of 26% was predicted. An experiment was also carried out to measure the actual performance benefit seen with double-sided cooling. An enhancement of over 30% was measured for a particular design. As the theory predicts, the benefit of double-sided cooling is limited for high performance designs. However, double-sided cooling could lead to high levels of thermal performance using low-performance technology.

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