Thermal management of 3-D stacked chips using thermoelectric and microfluidic devices
Redmond, Matthew J.
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This thesis employs computational and experimental methods to explore hotspot cooling and high heat flux removal from a 3-D stacked chip using thermoelectric and microfluidic devices. Stacked chips are expected to improve microelectronics performance, but present severe thermal management challenges. The thesis provides an assessment of both thermoelectric and microfluidic technologies and provides guidance for their implementation in the 3-D stacked chips. A detailed 3-D thermal model of a stacked electronic package with two dies and four ultrathin integrated TECs is developed to investigate the efficacy of TECs in hotspot cooling for 3-D technology. The numerical analysis suggests that TECs can be used for on demand cooling of hotspots in 3-D stacked chip architecture. A strong vertical coupling is observed between the top and bottom TECs and it is found that the bottom TECs can detrimentally heat the top hotspots. As a result, TECs need to be carefully placed inside the package to avoid such undesired heating. Thermal contact resistances between dies, inside the TEC module, and between the TEC and heat spreader are shown to significantly affect TEC performance. TECs are most effective for cooling localized hotspots, but microchannels are advantageous for cooling large background heat fluxes. In the present work, the results of heat transfer and pressure drop experiments in the microchannels with water as the working fluid are presented and compared to the previous microchannel experiments and CFD simulations. Heat removal rates of greater than 100 W/cm2 are demonstrated with these microchannels, with a pressure drop of 75 kPa or less. A novel empirical correlation modeling method is proposed, which uses finite element modeling to model conduction in the channel walls and substrate, coupled with an empirical correlation to determine the convection coefficient. This empirical correlation modeling method is compared to resistor network and CFD modeling. The proposed modeling method produced more accurate results than resistor network modeling, while solving 60% faster than a conjugate heat transfer model using CFD. The results of this work demonstrate that microchannels have the ability to remove high heat fluxes from microelectronic packages using water as a working fluid. Additionally, TECs can locally cool hotspots, but must be carefully placed to avoid undesired heating. Future work should focus on overcoming practical challenges including fabrication, cost, and reliability which are preventing these technologies from being fully leveraged.