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LighTimes: ITRI Introduces System that Reduces LED Thermal Testing Time by More Than 90 Percent

11 Nov 2014

November 11, 2014…Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI), Taiwan’s largest high-tech research and development institution, has introduced its In-Line Compact Thermal Analyzer (ICTA) Technology. The automatic thermal analyzer, ICTA offers a measurement speed of 12,000 LEDs per hour. According to ITRI the ICTA automatic thermal analyzer reduces each LED’s component thermal resistance testing time to just 0.3 seconds. The time per LED is reportedly 2,000 times faster than the conventional lab method in which only six components can be measured per hour. ITRI will receive a 2014 R&D 100 Award in November for this technology in the “Imaging” category.

ITRI points out that thermal performance has always been the primary factor impacting the life and light quality of LEDs. ITRI boasts that its ICTA Technology is the most powerful and cost efficient thermal analyzer compared to other LED thermal testers available. ITRI also contends that the ICTA technology greatly reduces the defect ratio of LED illumination products, decreases LED testing time, and improves production yield, performance and lifespan of LED devices including LED bulbs, mobile phones, TV, and laptop display backlights.

The technology employs a high-speed temperature sensitive parameter (TSP) measurement technique that ITRI says could reduce LED testing time by more than 90 percent, thus improving the efficiency of thermal structure analysis. According to ITRI, designers of power semiconductor devices can use ICTA to help solve thermal-induced stress, enabling innovative package design and material property identification or facilitating lifespan estimation.

“Up-to-now, measuring LED thermal resistance has been complex, time-consuming and could only take place in the laboratory at the product design stage,” said James, Mu Tao Chu, division director of the opto-electronics device and system applications division at ITRI. “With ICTA, manufacturers can now screen defective products on the production lines in real-time, optimizing production processes, increasing efficiencies to significantly lower LED lighting defect rates. This technology ensures, creating higher quality and more stable LED lighting products, for the delivery of best quality products to end-users, and finally, wider adoption of LED technology worldwide.”

ICTA provides the critical thermal characteristics such as junction temperature and thermal resistance for semiconductor devices, including LEDs, High-Electron-Mobility Transistor (HEMT), Metal-Oxide-Semiconductor Field-effect Transistor (MOSFET), and Insulated-Gate Bipolar Transistor (IGBT). ITRI has given the first technology transfer and patent licensing contract to global manufacturer MPI Corporation. The company is engaged in technology cooperation that has yielded the first ever transient thermal structure and in-line thermal resistance analyzer. MPI corporation expects to begin mass production of the ICTA by the end of 2014.

“Future LED illumination applications will require greater power needs in packaging, meaning that thermal resistance will become increasingly important. Since heat impacts the life and quality of a product, accurate measurement of LED thermal resistance will have a clear impact on product quality and cost,” said Anderson Fan, vice general manager of equipment operation division at MPI Corporation. “This cooperation with ITRI has successfully brought thermal resistance measurement technology out of the laboratory and to automated machinery. In the future, thermal resistance will be able to be measured in an automated process on the production line, significantly boosting the quality of LED products.”