LONDON, UK - Based on its recent research on the thermal management solutions for the LED lighting market, Frost & Sullivan presents Cambridge Nanotherm with the 2013 European Frost & Sullivan Award for Technology Innovation. Trends in the light emitting diode (LED) market point to a shift from costly ceramic–based substrates to basic aluminium-based substrates for better thermal management. This focus on thermal management solutions has highlighted the role played by heat sinks, and their shortcomings. In this environment, Cambridge Nanotherm has risen to prominence with its novel Chip on Heat Sink (CoHS) technology, which not only dissipates heat more efficiently, but also reduces the footprint of the heat sink.
Cambridge Nanotherm's CoHS technology employs the company's innovative and patented electrochemical process to generate the nano-ceramic dielectric layer of Aluminium oxide. This dielectric layer is formed directly on the metal heat sink, which is made of Aluminium, thus creating an insulating layer which has high dielectric strength as well as excellent thermal conductivity.
Competing solutions use either fully Aluminium oxide or Aluminium nitride–based heat sinks, which employ costly manufacturing processes. Cambridge Nanotherm uses Aluminium, and its nano-ceramic coating process is not only cost effective but also results in a heat sink with thermal conductivity levels that are approaching that of Aluminium nitride–based heat sinks.
The company's technology helps lower the die operating temperature by up to 22 degree Celsius. This will enable the application of higher power to the LED, thus increasing its light output. Alternatively, running the LED die at cooler temperatures also offers higher reliability to customers. LED manufacturers claim that the lifetime of their products ranges anywhere between 15 and 20 years. Cambridge Nanotherm's technology enables LED manufacturers achieve prolonged lifetime for their products.
Apart from LED lighting, Cambridge Nanotherm's technology can be applied in concentrated photovoltaics, unlike its peers who use aluminium nitride–based heat sinks which have limited application due to the high cost associated with aluminium nitride. Other future applications for Cambridge Nanotherm's technology include UV curing and water purification, RF circuitry, resistive heating, thermo-electric cooling and semiconductor packaging.
"Cambridge Nanotherm is also working toward improvements in its technology by adopting screen-printed or thin film metallization on ceramic-coated aluminium," said Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Archana Srinivasan. "Another advantage of the nanoceramic coating is that it can be applied to any aluminium-based heat sink of varied shape, size, or alloy, as the application or product demands."
Cambridge Nanotherm's technology, by means of eliminating thermal resistances, can reduce the number of components in an LED system while maintaining light output. Its smaller footprint not only reduces the weight and assembly costs of the system, but also slashes its shipping costs, which ultimately translates to lower prices of the LED products.
LED light sources are gaining in popularity among household and industrial lighting applications mainly because of their energy-saving capabilities. Cambridge Nanotherm's technology helps LED manufacturers reduce the device cost and multiply the energy-saving capacity of LED lighting devices.
"Another feature of Cambridge Nanotherm's technology is that it is made of 100 percent recyclable material; its penetration into the market will not only help save energy but also reduce carbon footprint," noted Srinivasan. "In response to companies' preference for green technologies, Cambridge Nanotherm has replaced conventional CoHS devices with more efficient materials and manufacturing processes."