Insulated Metal Base Circuits — an Enabling Technology for Power Electronics


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The use of structural metal in the manufacture of electronic circuits has been a part of the electronics’ industry technology toolkit for many decades. For example, metal chassis structures were required and used in the early days of the electronics industry to both support the weight and handle the heat generated by the vacuum tube components that were the transistors of their day. Vacuum tubes are still used to this day in many applications, but most notably in large-scale sound amplifiers such as those seen at outdoor events and rock concerts (Figure 1).

Such assemblies typically employed sockets to receive the pins of the vacuum tube and discrete wires were soldered to the pins of the socket to make interconnections between various components and distribute power and ground. Many early printed circuits also had to deal with significant heat flux and ceramic refractory materials were commonly called upon to address the challenge. Well, ceramic materials are quite capable of dealing with the heat one of the problems they have is that they are brittle

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Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in the December 2015 issue of The PCB Magazine.

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