Electrothermal simulation of multichip-modules with novel transient thermal model and time-dependent boundary conditions

York C. Gerstenmaier, Alberto Castellazzi, Gerhard K.M. Wachutka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


The ability of monitoring the chip temperatures of power semiconductor modules at all times under various realistic working conditions is the basis for investigating the limits of the maximum permissible load. A novel transient thermal model for the fast calculation of temperature fields and hot spot temperature evolution presented recently is extended to include time-dependent boundary conditions for variations of ambient temperature and surface heat flows. For this a Green's function representation of the temperature field is used. Also, general initial temperature conditions are included. The method is exemplified by application to a dc/ac converter module for automotive hybrid drives. The thermal model, which can be represented by a thermal equivalent circuit, then is combined with an electrical PSpice-metal-oxide semiconductor field-effect transistor (MOSFET) model to allow for the fully self-consistent electrothermal circuit simulation of 42-V/14-V dc/dc-converter modules. 670 converter periods with altogether 8000 MOSFET switching cycles in the six-chip module can be simulated within 1-h computing time on a Pentium PC. Various simulation results are presented, which demonstrate the feasibility of the simulation method and allow for the optimization of converter losses. Short circuit modes of converter operation are investigated with a high temperature increase also revealing the thermal interaction between different chips.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-55
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE Transactions on Power Electronics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2006


  • DC- and ac-converter for automotive
  • Electrothermal simulation
  • Multichip modules
  • PSpice metal-oxide semiconductor field-effect transistor (MOSFET) model
  • Thermal equivalent circuit
  • Time-dependent boundary conditions


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