Spreading of high-flux electronics heat is a critical part of any packaging design. This need is particularly profound in advanced devices where the dissipated heat fluxes have been driven well over 100W/cm2. To address this challenge, researchers at Raytheon, Thermacore and Purdue are engaged in the development and characterization of a low resistance, coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE)-matched multi-chip vapor chamber heat spreader, which utilizes capillary driven two-phase heat transport. The vapor chamber technology under development overcomes the limitations of state-of-the-art approaches by combining scaled-down sintered Cu powder and nanostructured materials in the vapor chamber wick to achieve low thermal resistance. Cu-coated vertically aligned carbon nanotubes is the nanostructure of choice in this development. Unique design and construction techniques are employed to achieve CTE-matching with a variety of device and packaging materials in a low-profile form-factor. This paper describes the materials, design, construction and characterization of these vapor chambers. Results from experiments conducted using a unique high-heat flux capable 1DSS test facility are presented, exploring the effects of various microscopic wick configurations, CNT-functionalizations and fluid charges on thermal performance. The impacts of evaporator wick patterning, CNT evaporator functionalization and CNT condenser functionalization on performance are assessed and compared to monolithic Cu wick configurations. Thermal performance is explained as a function of applied heat flux and temperature through the identification of dominant component thermal resistances and heat transfer mechanisms. Finally, thermal performance results are compared to an equivalent solid conductor heat spreader, demonstrating a >40% reduction in thermal resistance. These results indicate great promise for the use of such novel vapor chamber technology in thickness-constrained high heat flux device packaging applications.

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