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26 SMT Magazine • March 2015 I've been writing on thermal management for LED applications for a few years now, seem- ingly on an endless quest to find the next best thing for LED PCBs. It's been kind of like In- diana Jones and his search for the Holy Grail, except I don't have cool bullwhip skills. To date, we've focused on calculating ther- mal management needs as well as explore oth- er alternatives to MCPCBs to achieve thermal management, such as standard plated through by Yash Sutariya AlPhA CIrCuIT CorPorATIon/ SATurn eleCTroniCS CorporATion, and Thomas S. Tarter pACkAGe SCienCe ServiCeS llC An Alternate Approach to Thermal Management for LED Applications Time to Ditch Heavy Metal for Soft Rock? holes in FR4 material. I'd say at this point the industry has reached a saturation point when it comes to knowledge on how to dissipate heat (of course you never know what's around the corner). I think now it's time to move on to a topic that we've overlooked when it comes to PCBs for LEDs: reliability! I think the reason we've overlooked reli- ability is because it is traditionally associated with via life under thermal cycling conditions. Since most LED PCBs are single sided, this really hasn't been an issue. However, if you look above the waterline, there is another weak link—the solder joint. Some OEMs in the industry have been performing studies on the life of their LED products. While the bulbs themselves are said Feature

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