Reducing size and increasing power capabilities of electronic devices is of major importance for the overall performance of any satellite. Higher strength of the signals for Navigation applications and higher throughput in telecommunication satellites are pushing towards higher power density at payload subsystems. Consequently, new heat flux management solutions are needed to ensure reliability and lifetime maintaining the devices temperature within the specified limits.
Besides, reliability concerns that still need to be addressed specifically for space use (contaminations, mechanical aggressions, radiations…), package thermal resistance needs to be significantly reduced beyond current state-of-the-art if the performance advantages obtained at semiconductor chip die level, arising from new technology developments such as of Gallium Nitride (GaN) components, are to be maintained at its highest, and also for being able to minimize volume and weight at module and equipment level.
Currently in Europe, there is a large maturity gap between GaN or Silicon Carbide components and thermal management solutions at assembly or package level. Most of available packaging solutions are from Japan or the US only, and not necessarily suitable for space applications in terms of reliability and/or performance. At European level, considerable progress has been lately made: the research and development work carried out in recent years has resulted in highly competitive solutions for next generation low thermal resistance packages.
As an example, and strong predecessor to this project, very promising results came out of the EC funded AGAPAC FP7 Space project, with the realization of a highly dissipative package consisting of a diamond based composite baseplate. In addition to the ambition of step‐changes in the performances of packages, building on the heritage of AGAPAC, developing transformative and disruptive new heat sinking solution, the further idea underpinning HEATPACK is to demonstrate the commercial viability of the solutions.
In order to secure a supply chain for packages and ensure the non‐dependence and competitiveness at European level, 9 partners from 7 different countries will collaborate in the frame of HEATPACK targeting to reach a TRL7 for the technologies developed, namely also demonstrate reliability levels compliant with space environment.