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Design007-Feb2020

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90 DESIGN007 MAGAZINE I FEBRUARY 2020 Flexible Thinking by Joe Fjelstad, VERDANT ELECTRONICS Without power, electronics are useless. With power, miracles happen. Managing that pow- er is critical in both design and operation in terms of heat generation and energy conser- vation, especially for battery-powered devic- es. Moreover, often in electronic products, de- signers find themselves providing power to an electronic module or system at multiple differ- ent voltages and currents. This brings to fore one of the things that is often underappreciat- ed until after the fact, and that is power's om- nipresent by-product—heat. Heat is a reality in the operation of every elec- tronic device, no matter the size. The amount of heat produced by some devices, such as digital watches and small calculators, may be nearly immeasurable, but where there is resis- tance, there is also heat generated. However, for larger and more powerful electronic devic- es and systems, heat is much more apparent; anyone who has used a modern laptop on their lap for any length of time has likely felt the ac- companying discomfort. With the industry's unceasing effort to in- crease product performance by shrinking tran- sistors and circuits, an unfortunate increase in thermal energy densities on ICs has resulted. Today, the matter of elevated temperatures on the chip is an increasingly important issue for chip, package, and system designers for a very important reason: there's an inverse relation- ship between long-term reliability of electron- ics (specifically transistors) and higher temper- atures. Power and Thermal Management: Dealing With the Heat

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