Advanced electronic packaging for extreme environments

Down oil and gas well temperatures of 250ºC and pressures of >1,000bar provide the harshest environment that electronics must endure. Even though the very expensive electronics placed down-well are protected by thermal barriers and other technologies, the time that the electronics can spend down hole is limited. This project seeks to develop new technology so that electronics may operate under these extreme conditions for up to 10 years.

The research in Oxford forms part of a larger Technology Strategy Board funded academic/industry programme led by GE Aviation, and bringing together specialists in electronic materials, high reliability assembly and a well-logging instrumentation manufacturer. The project is making use of both in-house and industrial manufacture, assembly, testing and microstructural examination of novel multi-material combinations. Finite element modelling is being used to predict and understand behaviour under extreme environments here and in related projects. Materials under investigation include novel insulated metal substrates; and various die attach and interconnect materials and processes. Ultimately the project seeks to bring a physics of failure based approach and understanding to the problem of multi materials integration in extreme environments.

Processing of Advanced Materials