Thermal conductivity of silver loaded conductive epoxy from cryogenic to ambient temperature and its application for precision cryogenic noise measurements
The pressure to increase the sensitivity of instrumentation has pushed the use of cryogenic Low Noise Amplifier (LNA) technology into a growing number of fields. These areas range from radio astronomy and deep space communications to fundamental physics. In this context manufacturing for cryogenic environments requires a proper thermal knowledge of the materials to be able to achieve adequate design behavior. In this work, we present experimental measurements of the thermal conductivity of a silver filled conductive epoxy (EPO-TEK H20E) which is widely used in cryogenic electronics applications. The characterization has been made using a sample preparation which mimics the practical use of this adhesive in the fabrication of cryogenic devices. We apply the data obtained to a detailed analysis of the effects of the conductive epoxy in a monolithic thermal noise source used for high accuracy cryogenic microwave noise measurements. In this application the epoxy plays a fundamental role since its limited thermal conductivity allows heating the chip with relatively low power. To our knowledge, the cryogenic thermal conductivity data of this epoxy has not been reported before in the literature in the 4-300 K temperature range. A second non-conductive epoxy (Gray Scotch-Weld 2216 B/A), also widely used in cryogenic applications, has been measured in order to validate the method by comparing with previous published data.