A review of recent progress of thermal interface materials: from research to industrial applications
Paper in proceedings, 2016

The increasing trend of further scaling down electronic components put an increasing demand for more efficient cooling. A significant part of the thermal resistance from source to ambient occurs at the interface between materials, and thermal interface materials are crucial for efficient heat transfer. Recent years have seen a significant amount of progress various types of thermal interface materials. In this review, the field of thermal interface materials (TIMs) development is summarized and analyzed, focusing on three topics which have received attention at a research level, and their road towards market applicability. The first topic is development in particle laden polymers, which uses thermally conductive filler particles in a polymer matrix. New development is focused on novel fillers such as h-BN or carbon based fillers, and hybrid filler combinations. The next topic is continuous metal phase TIMs, which includes solder and liquid metal TIMs. The thermal performance is already very good, and development is largely focused on improving the mechanical properties. Finally, the last topic is carbon nanotube array TIMs, which used chemical vapor deposition-grown carbon nanotube arrays as bridging material. The concept has promise for great performance in both handling, mechanical stability and thermal performance, but is still at a research stage. In addition to these topics, a quantitative study on the progress of thermal interface materials development is made, both in terms of research papers published and in terms of patents filed. The study shows a stable trend of continuous development on all levels and concludes that significant improvements can be expected to continue in the future.

Thermal interface materials

Thermal management

Carbon nanotube array tim

Particle laden polymers

Electronics cooling



Josef Hansson

Chalmers, Microtechnology and Nanoscience (MC2), Electronics Material and Systems Laboratory

Liley Ye

SHT Smart High-Tech

Henric Rhedin

SHT Smart High-Tech

Johan Liu

Chalmers, Microtechnology and Nanoscience (MC2), Electronics Material and Systems Laboratory

IMAPS Nordic Annual Conference 2016 Proceedings; Tonsberg; Norway; 5 - 7 June 2016

978-151082722-6 (ISBN)

Subject Categories

Materials Engineering

Nano Technology



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