The heat generated by microprocessors is steadily increasing as die size shrinks. The trend towards increasing microprocessor heat flux is forcing thermal engineers to consider alternative system cooling technologies. Greater thermal control is also an issue during the engineering test of microprocessors and package characterization. The thermal challenges posed during test and debug are significant as power levels are higher than system power and temperature control requirements are very tight. Thermo-electric cooling technology (TEC) integrated with liquid cooling has evolved significantly in the past few years as a thermal management technique for engineering test and debug. In this study, an experimental approach was taken to characterize a TEC-based thermal control unit (TCU). The TCU thermal resistance was calculated as a function of the water temperature and device heat outputs. Several tests evaluated the suitability of using the TCU to control a device at low and elevated package case temperatures. Test results indicated that the TEC-Liquid system can operate in a cold or hot mode and that the thermal management capability of the system is a strong function of the liquid bulk temperature on the hot side of the TEC surface. The water bulk temperature at which the TCU fails to maintain the required device temperature is also reported in this paper.

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