Increase of power densities has become the primary constraint for semiconductor industry to sustain the Moore’s law for microprocessor evolution. Further development of packaging technology and advanced thermal interface materials (TIMs) requires both maximization of the total thermal throughput of the system and mitigation of the thermal impact from non-uniformly distributed hotspots. Therefore, thermal characterization techniques capable of resolving partial thermal resistances at the component level have received increased emphasis in development of advanced packaging technologies. This work develops a practical method for thermal characterization of IC packages using the frequency-domain measurement technique. It is well suited for investigation of package thermal performance during various application-specific tests in field conditions, as well as a tool for development of TIM and optimization of packaging process. Both steady-state and dynamic thermal characterizations of the IC packages can be achieved using this technique. Various applications, such as thermal structure function measurement, silicon die hot-spot detection, and in-situ thermal/mechanical characterization of TIMs are discussed.

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