Thermal performance comparison of thick-film insulated aluminum substrates with metal core PCBs for high-power LED modules

Eveliina Juntunen, Aila Sitomaniemi, Olli Tapaninen, Ryan Persons, Mark Challingsworth, Veli Heikkinen

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    35 Citations (Scopus)


    Evolution of lumens per watt efficacy has enabled exponential growth in light-emitting diode (LED) lighting applications. However, heat management is a major challenge for an LED module design due to the necessity to conduct heat away from the LED chip. Elevated chip temperatures cause adverse effects on LED performance, lifetime, and color. This paper compares the thermal performance of high-power LED modules made with two types of circuit boards: novel substrates based on insulated aluminum material systems (IAMSs) technology that inherently allows using thermal vias under the LEDs and traditional metal core printed circuit boards (MCPCBs) commonly used with high-power LED applications. IAMS is a thick-film insulation system developed for aluminum that cannot handle temperature higher than 660 ° C. The coefficient of thermal expansion of IAMS pastes is designed to match with aluminum, which minimizes any bowing. The thermal via underneath the LED enables excellent thermal performance. More than 7 ° C reduction in LED junction temperature at 700-mA drive current and 27% reduction in the total thermal resistance from the LED junction to the bottom of the substrate were demonstrated for the IAMS technology when compared with MCPCB. When considering only the thermal resistance of the substrate, reductions of around 70% and 50% were obtained. This versatile and low-cost material system has the potential to make LEDs even more attractive in lighting applications.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1957-1964
    Number of pages7
    JournalIEEE Transactions on Components, Packaging and Manufacturing Technology
    Issue number12
    Publication statusPublished - 2012
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


    • dielectrics
    • electrical insulation
    • light-emitting diodes
    • substrates
    • thermal analysis
    • thermal management
    • thick films


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