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Due to their brightness, long life, and lighting efficiency, LEDs are becoming increasingly popular in lighting and signage applications.


LEDs have very high heat flux values, meaning that the heat they dissipate is dissipated over very small areas. LEDs can dissipate from 1W—8W and this is done over very small areas. The maximum allowable junction temperatures for these devices is also relatively low (from 120C - 185C), thus cooling and thermal management for these devices becomes critical to their design and proper operation.


LED cooling can take various forms depending on their applications. It is often desired to avoid active cooling systems in order to maintain high system reliability, however, this limits the heat extraction possible. In some cases, passive cooling is highly desirable so as to minimize maintenance (ex. in hard to access places or areas where maintenance down-time is unacceptable). In other cases, the high heat fluxes resulting from the illumination requirements will mandate active cooling systems. As an example, an automotive LED headlamp with high under hood ambient conditions of 85 C or higher would likely require an active cooling system such as a fan or a liquid cooling system.


There are a number of factors that drive the thermal design for LED applications. In general, thermal contact resistance, and spreading resistance will play a significant role. Insulated metal substrate boards will often be used with LEDs to help reduce the spreading resistance associated with FR4 PCBs. Also, highly conductive thermal interface materials will often be used to help reduce the junction temperature of the LEDs.


TDMG has been involved in a number of LED product development programs. Our thermal design and analysis experience with LED systems can help us identify the proper solution for your LED application. As a heatsink manufacturer we can produce the cooling solution you require for your LED system.












Figure 1: Typical LED lighting applications


If you have any questions regarding the above or for a specific design question which you may have, please contact us and we will be pleased to help you.

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