Microstructured three-dimensional (3D) materials can be engineered to enable new capabilities for various engineering applications; however, microfabrication of large 3D structures is typically expensive due to the conventional top-down fabrication scheme. Herein we demonstrated the use of projection micro-stereolithography and electrodeposition as cost-effective and high-throughput methods to fabricate compliant 3D microstructures as a thermal interface material (TIM). This novel TIM structure consists of an array of metallized micro-springs designed to enhance the dry contact thermal conductance between nonflat surfaces under low interface pressures (10s–100s kPa). Mechanical compliance and thermal resistance measurements confirm that this dry contact TIM can achieve conformal contact between mating surfaces with a nonflatness of approximately 5 μm under low interface pressures.


projection micro-stereolithography, thermal interface materials, additive manufacturing, microfabrication, electrodeposition, electroless deposition, metallization, compliant materials.

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J. Cui, J. Wang, Y. Zhong, L. Pan, and J.A. Weibel, “Metallized Compliant Three-Dimensional Microstructures for Dry Contact Thermal Conductance Enhancement,” Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering 28, 055005, 2018.