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TE Connectivity’s Thermal Bridge Technology: Go Beyond Conventional Thermal Management Methods

December 19, 2019 by Luke James

With TE Connectivity’s newest thermal bridge technology, the propagation of heat has become more efficient as compared to conventional techniques. This system can withstand incredibly high thermal resistance which fulfills the requirement of increasing power consumption by various modern systems.

Thermal Bridge’s technology is helpful in dissipating the heat produced by an electronic device or sensor as quickly as possible to maintain its optimal functionality. A bridge is necessary to promptly drain the heat out of the device to protect it and for its smooth working as well. 

Switzerland’s leading electronic sensor producing company, TE Connectivity (TE) has introduced its newest thermal bridge technology which it claims is two times better than the conventional thermal techniques such as thermal pads or gad pads. 

This device was developed due to the need for a sensor or a thermal connector that could handle more heat without impacting its functionality to scale existing technologies by eliminating their limitations caused by inefficient, traditional thermal devices.


TE Connectivity’s latest thermal bridge technology that is two times better and reliable. It includes samples for SFP+, QSFP-DD, and QSFP-28.

TE Connectivity’s latest thermal bridge technology that is two times better and reliable. It includes samples for SFP+, QSFP-DD, and QSFP-28. Image credit: TE Connectivity


The leading edge that thermal bridge technology provides over comparable devices is that it can efficiently satisfy the need for high power consumption for devices like high-speed network routers, servers, and switches due to its prime thermal resistance as they tend to become more sophisticated. TE Connectivity’s thermal bridge technology also ensures improved serviceability, consistency, reliability and high durability along with elastic compression design, making it more convenient and viable.


Features of the Thermal Bridge Technology

This latest technology by TE will revolutionize the network, switches, routers, and server systems by enhancing their speed, bandwidth, and capabilities. Moreover, its compact design makes it well-suited to next-generation computers. Delivering incredibly high performance, it incorporates the following features and benefits:

  • Up to two times greater thermal resistance than traditional thermal technologies​

  • Near-zero plate gap in the thermal bridge construction for optimized compression and thermal transfer​

  • Optimized for applications that utilise cold plates with liquid cooling or heat pipes, ganged heatsinks or direct chassis conduction applications with minimal airflow​

  • Consistent, long-lasting thermal performance with an elastic compression design that is resistant to set and relaxation over time

  • Low and consistent compression force between the cold plate and I/O plug​

  • Greater durability over traditional thermal technologies to reduce component replacements needed during servicing​


Technical Features

  • The spring-loaded bridge offers 1.0mm (typical) of z-axis compression

  • Individual plate actuation allows for surface conformability in the x-axis

  • Dual-spring design allows for tilt conformability in the y-axis

  • At three points of contact per plate, a typical bridge will have over 150 points of contact to the adjacent surface

  • Dry interface resistance which is 20-40% lower than traditional riding heatsinks


TE’s thermal bridge technology is currently available in SFP+, QSFP-DD, and QSFP-28.


Components of TE’s thermal bridge technology.

Components of TE’s thermal bridge technology. Image credit: TE Connectivity


Applications of Thermal Bridge Technology

Due to new thermal bridge technology by TE, it can replace all traditional thermal resistors and thus has tremendous applications now and then. Some of its implementations are listed below:

  • High-performance computing (HPC)

  • Ethernet switches

  • 5G/wireless

  • Servers

  • Ethernet SP routing

  • Input/Output (I/O) using clod plates with liquids


Comparison with Traditional Technologies

Currently, the commonly used technology for thermal protection in the market is thermal pads or gad pads. These usually take the form of a square or rectangle, and are used as heat sinks to keep the device cool and in its optimal temperature.

The drawback to using gad pads is that they are quite big and usually require ample time to dissipate the heat. This slows down processes, and hence the speed is affected. Given the 6th and 7th generation computers currently being manufactured and 5G communications on the horizon, traditional technologies are expected to give way for new improvements.

TE’s thermal bridge technology has overcome the majority of the limitations of previous thermal protection techniques such as design, space, reliability, and performance. It is opening new horizons for the upcoming high-performance era of computing.

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