News | Jan 8, 2019

Army engineers develop next-gen power modules for high-voltage electronics

Technology improves the performance of power modules found in all electronics

The U.S. Army’s corporate research laboratory received a patent Tuesday on a novel power module with integrated heat dissipating features, making it attractive for high-power electronics like railguns and wind turbines.

The new invention, titled Stacked Power Module with Integrated Thermal Management, is now protected by U.S. Patent 10,178,813, according to documents from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

The patent, issued on January 8, lists inventors Lauren Boteler and Damian Urciuoli. Boteler leads the thermal and packaging research programs as part of the Advanced Power Packaging Group at the Army Research Laboratory in Adelphi, Maryland.

Their research is concentrated on integrating electronics packaging and thermal management solutions for a wide range of Army and civilian applications. The power of electronics is often limited by the heat produced during power conversion.

According to the patent, the power module would be useful in high-power systems like “hybrid and electric vehicles, UAVs, renewable energy systems (solar, wind, etc), generators…,” but also “in lower powered systems including cell phones, electronics chargers, computers, etc.”

Through innovative design and material selection, the Army engineers have created multi-functional components that concurrently act as electrical, thermal, and mechanical attachments. This eliminates the need for wire bonds and a separate heat sink. It also allows for space-saving stacking of components (diodes and switches) in the power module and reduces parasitic inductance.

TechLink, the Department of Defense’s national partnership intermediary for technology transfer, is seeking businesses interested in using the technology in new products and services.

Through technology transfer, DoD inventions are made available to businesses and entrepreneurs for use in new products and services. The Army Research Laboratory has over 800 technologies in its patent portfolio.

A patent license confers the right to practice the invention for commercial purposes, and often includes related data and technical knowledge. License fees paid to the laboratory are typically negotiable.

To receive more information on this technology, interested parties can contact Joan Wu-Singel, senior technology manager at TechLink, at jwu-singel@montana.edu or 406-994-7705.