For the limit of its lifetime, the Stirling cooler is operated on the intermittent mode in satellite in some cases. Thus such cryogenic semiconductor components as HgCdTe mid or long wavelength infrared (IR) detectors are subjected to thousands of repeated thermal cycles from below -173°C to room temperature. Therefore, a series of experiments focused on quality, performance and reliability are essential in order to satisfy the reasonable requirements. Accordingly, a feasible thermal cycle screening system is put forward. And a vast experimental data show that thermal cycle tests play the most effective role in the environment stress screen (ESS).
In this paper, we introduce the system to help to study the main failure mechanisms and improve the performance of the semiconductor components. Such main failure mechanisms as solder-ball invalidation encountered commonly in the detector modules, which is due to the large thermal expansion coefficient mismatch among different materials.
The thermal cycle system is based on the principle of heat exchange. We expect HgCdTe IR detectors be cooled to lower than -173°C and heated to room temperature in a few minutes. Above all, we simulate the heating and cooling system through finite element method (FEM). As a result, the computations reveal that the IR detectors can be heated and cooled at a higher rate than expected. A consequent design of the entire system is founded on the simulation. At last, we adjust the mechanical structure of heat exchange system to the adaptive state to accomplish the ESS.
The thermal cycle screening system includes an autocontrol part and a test part. The autocontrol part is adopted to realize the heat exchange between IR detectors and the environment, and the test one to inspect the temperature and electrical parameters of these detectors. And at least four IR detector samples can be screened at one time.