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When thermal conductivity and heat dissipation are critically important considerations, the differences between beryllium oxide (BeO, also known as beryllia) and aluminum nitride (AlN) can mean the difference between long-term performance and early failure. Within the global electronics market – from aerospace to wireless communications, lasers to semiconductors – the exceptional combination of properties offered by beryllia ceramics is greatly superior to aluminum nitride.

Beryllium Oxide


In many respects, BeO and AlN are similar. They are both effective bonders and compete on price. But when searching for a heat-dissipating ceramic that offers unmatched performance, beryllia is far superior.

BeO has thermal conductivity of up to 325 W/(m•K) compared to AlN's 180 W/(m•K) rating, making beryllia up to 80 percent more thermally conductive than AlN. This makes BeO a better fit for dissipating intense, localized heat. In fact, beryllia's thermal conductivity is second only to diamond among thermally insulating materials.

Incorporated into applications with dense and/or high-frequency circuitry, beryllia delivers improved circuit performance over AlN due to its low dielectric constant of 6.7 compared to AlN's 9.7 dielectric constant. Meanwhile, both materials are effective bonders with silicon and base metals because of their coefficients of thermal expansion – AlN is 4.4-4.5 ppm/°C and BeO's 9 ppm/°C.

Given the performance advantages of beryllium oxide ceramics over aluminum nitride, you might think that BeO would cost much more. In fact, the two materials have a one-to-one cost comparison for hundreds of applications.


  • Superior Thermal Conductivity
  • Competitive Pricing
  • More Consistent Heat Dissipation
  • Better Uniformity of Crystalline Structure
  • Easy and Effective Metallization
  • More Durable in Semiconductor Chamber Cleaning Environments

See the advantages of BeO versus AlN in this comparison infographic.


At Materion, we develop engineered beryllia components for global manufacturers of high-performance products and systems, serving markets that include medical, lasers, semiconductor handling equipment, energy, military, aerospace, wireless communications and RF/microwave.

Learn more about the range of BeO advanced ceramics available

Materion is the world's only fully integrated developer and supplier of BeO ceramics. From mining and R&D to component production and support, we've been the go-to source for BeO for more than 60 years. To learn more about BeO ceramics and how Materion can help you, contact our ceramics experts.