A self-adaptive thermal switch array for rapid temperature stabilization under various thermal power inputs

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A self-adaptive thermal switch array (TSA) based on actuation by low-melting-point alloy droplets is reported to stabilize the temperature of a heat-generating microelectromechanical system (MEMS) device at a predetermined range (i.e. the optimal working temperature of the device) with neither a control circuit nor electrical power consumption. When the temperature is below this range, the TSA stays off and works as a thermal insulator. Therefore, the MEMS device can quickly heat itself up to its optimal working temperature during startup. Once this temperature is reached, TSA is automatically turned on to increase the thermal conductance, working as an effective thermal spreader. As a result, the MEMS device tends to stay at its optimal working temperature without complex thermal management components and the associated parasitic power loss. A prototype TSA was fabricated and characterized to prove the concept. The stabilization temperatures under various power inputs have been studied both experimentally and theoretically. Under the increment of power input from 3.8 to 5.8 W, the temperature of the device increased only by 2.5 °C due to the stabilization effect of TSA.

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© 2011 IOP Publishing Ltd. Publisher’s version of record: https://doi.org/10.1088/0960-1317/21/8/085018

Publication Title

Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering