Why is Thermal Management a Cause for Concern in EMI Shielding?

Thermal Management

Miniaturization has become a common practice in the electronics industry and has led to the integration of audio, video, storage, and wireless technology in consumer devices. However, boards need to accommodate more components to fulfill the advanced functionality requirements of modern electronics consumers. This situation is problematic as it gives rise to considerable electromagnetic interference (EMI) and thermal issues. Thus, thermal and EMI engineers need to work on a solution for component malfunctions, thermally-induced stress, and reduced operating speeds.

Resolving Thermal Issues: Complications

Most gadgets nowadays use radio frequency (RF) chipsets, microprocessors, voltage regulators, and integrated circuit (IC) chips – all of which emit electromagnetic radiation. These issues can typically be resolved at the source with board level shielding (BLS).

The trouble starts when dealing with thermal issues. These are a lot more complicated and affect system reliability. Manufacturers can easily use heat sinks and thermal interface materials to improve heat dissipation capabilities.

Unfortunately, these components increase the cost and weight of the system, whereas manufacturers are striving to reduce the component count on the board. In fact, there might not be enough space on the newer and smaller applications to allow for a heat sink.This is concerning, given the fact that designers wish to shield against EMI at the board level, nearest to the source where heat must be removed and where board level shielding is a necessity.

Need for Thermal Management

Engineers can simultaneously reduce EMI noise and heat by applying thermal interface material (TIM) to board level shields. Otherwise, the lack of thermal management can cause ICs or other components to retain heat, attain greater temperatures, and function incorrectly. While high temperatures are enough to destroy devices, operating at even slightly elevated, non-destructive temperatures can chip away the life of the device. Thus, without thermal management, either the lifespan of an IC is cut short or its performance and quality take a severe hit.

When heat levels exceed operating temperatures, the delicate silicone structures inside the ICs start to burn out. Every IC has a specific operating temperature range. When the IC operates beyond this range, it begins to fail. To ensure proper operating temperatures, heat dissipation considerations are a part of the IC product testing.

Contact us now for quality thermal products. Our products are tested to withstand high temperatures, and some even possess EMI shielding capabilities. This adds a double layer of protection against both EMI noise and heat.