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Multiphysics Simulation: An IEEE Spectrum Insert
Manager’s Guide

Innovative Packaging Design for Electronics in Extreme Environments

Brice McPherson

Power electronics appear in many everyday products, including smartphones, electronic car parts, and household objects. Such devices require controlled temperature ranges, switching frequencies, and voltage levels to operate smoothly and reliably. For harsh environments, such as the depths below the earth’s surface where oil is drilled, there is an increasing need to develop electronic systems that are protected from the elements and won’t fail due to extreme temperatures or pressure changes.

Arkansas Power Electronics International (APEI), a company specializing in power electronics and semiconductor devices, has developed new power packages to address the challenges presented by such applications. Brice McPherson, a lead engineer at APEI, used COMSOL Multiphysics® and the associated LiveLink™ for SOLIDWORKS® to explore and optimize geometry configurations, minimize inductance, and maximize heat dissipation in their designs. Using multiphysics simulation, McPherson and the team at APEI successfully designed a flexible, reliable power package with improved thermal capabilities that can operate at temperatures above 225°C and will pave the road to the development of new devices.

Simulation results overlaid on geometry, showing the current density in the GaN design (top) and the SiC design (bottom)