Interview with CPS Technologies’ Gregg Weatherman, National Sales Manager

1. What technologies or materials do you specialise in?

CPS Technologies specializes in metal matrix composites (MMCs) for microelectronics, thermal management solutions, and structural applications. CPS AlSiC (silicon carbide-reinforced aluminum) combines favorable thermal (low thermal expansion, high thermal conductivity) and mechanical (low density, high stiffness) properties that allow it to be leveraged and tailored to multiple industries. Our AlSiC provides the precision and stability needed for power electronics and hermetic packaging while allowing for the fabrication of high strength and light weight armor panels and structural components.

2. What are the benefits of your technologies or materials?

AlSiC combines high thermal conductivity, a low coefficient of thermal expansion, and a low density that is unmatched by traditional materials typically found in electronics (Cu, CuMo, CuW, etc). For applications like Wide Band Gap devices, these properties combine to prevent damage during thermal cycling by reducing mechanical stresses associated with soldering during component assembly and switching during operation. These same properties enable AlSiC use in hermetic packaging, optimizing thermal conductivity, decreasing weight, and allowing for direct attachment of substrates. Similarly, the processing techniques for CPS standard AlSiC are transferable to the bulk fabrication of structural MMCs.

3. CPS Technologies played a vital part in the production of the MethaneSAT Satelite program which is designed to locate and measure methane from human sources with more accuracy than current methods. How did CPS come to develop this technology?

AlSiC is an ideal material for aerospace applications. CPS has taken steps to characterize and qualify AlSiC performance at cryogenic temperatures. By establishing material performance at temperatures as low as 40 K (-233°C), CPS has enabled AlSiC use in these extreme environments, such as those experiences in the MethaneSAT program. CPS continues to quantify material performance at these cryogenic temperatures to reach new markets and product applications.

4. CPS develops innovative components for multiple industries including, energy, automotive, aerospace and defence. With this in mind what do you hope to showcase at The Advanced Materials Show USA and The Nanotechnology Show?

CPS AlSiC has a 30 year history of AlSiC product development. The continued development of technologies like wide band gap electronic devices has extended the need for high performance base materials such as AlSiC. CPS is well positioned to supply its MMC solutions to legacy and next generation electronics systems by delivering tailored materials to meet need throughout the industry.

5. CPS’s primary advanced material solution is your metal matrix composite, which have superior properties compared to conventional materials such as copper. Could you explain how these are created and the impact they have had in the development of new technologies?

By reinforcing an aluminum matrix with silicon carbide and fabricating AlSiC, CPS produces a material that maintains the lightweight nature of aluminum, but improves thermal conductivity and reduces the CTE to less than half that of copper. The inherent combination of metal and ceramic yields the unique material properties, but CPS sets itself apart by producing fully dense, robust structures. CPS utilizes a two-step process including SiC preform fabrication via injection molding followed by Al metal infiltration. The process (Quickset™-Quickcast™) yields reliable and structurally sound components. By leveraging these core processes, CPS is able to craft unique materials solutions with tailored properties that can both improve existing and enable new technologies.

6. With rapid technology growth, what do you see as part of the future of the advanced materials sector?

CPS core technologies and manufacturing processes already provide robust material solutions for electronics and structural applications. Continued development of advanced processing routes like additive manufacturing and the proliferation of integrated computational materials engineering, are allowing for the rapid development of materials and components that meet the advanced requirements for next generation electronic and structural systems. CPS is well positioned to combine these novel techniques with established material systems to push boundaries in performance and reliability.