Publication Authors

Vivek Sankaranarayanan

Yucheng Gao

Dragan Maksimovic

Thermal Design, Optimization, and Packaging of Planar Magnetic Components


This article is focused on the thermal design and three-dimensional (3-D) package optimization of planar magnetic components (PMCs), including transformers and inductors for application in an electric vehicle composite boost dc-dc converter. Each PMC comprises electrical windings in printed circuit board (PCB) form in combination with a ferrite core. Multiple features of each PMC package are thermally optimized for the proposed device configurations with given core size, core loss distribution, number of turns in the PCB winding, winding copper thickness, and winding loss distribution. These heuristically optimized features include a lower level cold plate structure with a conformal base for enhanced convective heat transfer, an upper level PMC cap structure for doubled-sided cooling through conductive heat flow to the cold plate, the implementation of functionally distributed copper thermal and electrothermal vias in the PCB winding for improved cross-plane thermal conductance, and judicious implementation of select materials at various locations and interfaces within the package. Detailed numerical modeling reveals the combined effect of this 3-D packaging strategy with a 79.3 °C and 48.5 °C maximum temperature reduction in the core and PCB winding, respectively, relative to a baseline device configuration. Select PMC experimental validation confirms the expected thermal performance of an optimized PCB design. The thermal design approach is relevant for a range of high-power-density electronics PMC packaging applications.