GaN / LATEST NEWS / PROJECTS / TOP STORIES / WBG2 Min Read
Infineon Technologies AG announced the closing of the acquisition of GaN Systems Inc. (“GaN Systems”). The Ottawa-based company brings with it a broad portfolio of gallium nitride (GaN)-based power conversion solutions and leading-edge application know-how. All required regulatory clearances have been obtained and GaN Systems has become part of Infineon effective as of the closing.
“GaN technology is paving the way for more energy-efficient and CO 2-saving solutions that support decarbonization,” said Jochen Hanebeck, CEO of Infineon. “The acquisition of GaN Systems significantly accelerates our GaN roadmap and further strengthens Infineon’s leadership in power systems through mastery of all relevant power semiconductor technologies. We welcome our new colleagues from GaN Systems to Infineon.”
Infineon now has a total of 450 GaN experts and more than 350 GaN patent families, which expands the company’s leading position in power semiconductors and considerably speeds up time-to-market. Both companies’ complementary strengths in IP and application understanding as well as a well-filled customer project pipeline put Infineon in an excellent position to address various fast-growth applications.
On 2 March 2023, Infineon and GaN Systems announced that the companies had signed a definitive agreement under which Infineon would acquire GaN Systems for US$830 million. The acquisition, an all-cash transaction, was funded from existing liquidity.
Original – Infineon Technologies
LATEST NEWS / PRODUCT & TECHNOLOGY / SiC / WBG3 Min Read
The Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE has developed and suc-cessfully commissioned the world’s first medium-voltage string inverter for large-scale power plants. By feeding power into the medium-voltage grid, the “MS-LeiKra” project team has demonstrated that PV inverters are technically capable of handling higher voltage levels.
The benefits for photovoltaics in-clude enormous cost and resource savings for passive components and cables. The device lays the foundation for a new system concept for the next genera-tion of large-scale PV power plants, which can also be applied to wind turbines, electric mobility and industrial applications.
Modern PV string inverters have an output voltage of between 400 VAC and 800 VAC. Although the output of power plants is steadily growing, voltage has not yet been increased. There are two reasons for this: First, building a highly efficient and compact inverter based on silicon semiconductors is a challenge. Second, there are currently no PV-specific standards that cover only the low-voltage range (max. 1,500 VDC / 1,000 VAC).
In a project funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK), Fraunhofer ISE, in collaboration with Siemens and Sumida, has developed an inverter that enables the output voltage to be increased to the medium-voltage range (1,500 V) at 250 kVA. The key to this is the use of silicon carbide semiconductors, which have a higher blocking voltage.
The research team has also implemented a more efficient cooling concept using heat pipes, which reduces the amount of aluminum required.
Thinner cables offer huge savings potential
An average photovoltaic power plant requires dozens of kilometers of copper cables. Increasing the voltage generates significant savings potential: At today’s possible output voltage of 800 VAC, a 250 kVA string inverter requires cables with a minimum cross section of 120 mm². By increasing the voltage to 1,500 VAC, the cable cross section can be reduced to 35 mm².
This in turn cuts copper consumption by around 700 kilograms per kilometer of cable. “Our resource analyses show that in the medium term, the electrification of the energy system will lead to copper becoming scarce. Increasing the voltage allows us to save valuable resources,” says Prof. Dr. Andreas Bett, Director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE.
Standards need to change
With the “MS LeiKra” project, we are leaving the scope of low-voltage (<1000 VAC / <1500 VDC) standards. There are currently no PV-specific standards for this range. This is why the project team is also working on the standards that would result from increasing the voltage.
Finding a demo project partner
Having fed power into the medium-voltage grid successfully, the research team is now looking for solar farm developers and grid operators to test the power plant concept in the field.
Besides photovoltaics, moving beyond low voltage is also of interest for other applications, such as wind turbines, where the growing system capacities also require cables with large cross sections. The same is true for the charging infrastructure for large electric vehicles and vehicle fleets, and for industrial grids, where medium-voltage inverters could save a lot of material if cable cross sections could be reduced.
Original – Fraunhofer ISE
LATEST NEWS / PRODUCT & TECHNOLOGY / Si2 Min Read
Toshiba Electronics Europe GmbH has launched a pair of automotive grade 40V N-channel power MOSFETs based upon their latest U-MOS IX-H process. The new devices use a new S-TOGLTM (Small Transistor Outline Gull-wing Leads) package that offers a number of advantages in automotive applications.
Automotive safety-critical applications such as steering, braking and autonomous driving systems generally require more devices than other systems to meet redundancy requirements. Here, a power MOSFET with high current density is required due to the size constraints within automotive equipment.
The new XPJR6604PB and XPJ1R004PB have a VDSS rating of 40V and the XPJR6604PB is rated for a continuous drain current (ID) of 200A (XPJ1R004PB = 160A). Both devices are rated for pulsed current (IDP) at 3x this value, 600A and 480A respectively. The 200A rating is higher than that achieved by Toshiba’s 6.5mm × 9.5mm DPAK+ package.
The new XPJR6604PB and XPJ1R004PB automotive MOSFETs use Toshiba’s innovative new S-TOGLTM package that measures just 7.0mm × 8.44mm × 2.3mm. The products are post-less and feature a multi-pin structure for the source leads that significantly decreases package resistance.
Combining the S-TOGLTM package with Toshiba’s U-MOS IX-H process gives the XPJR6604PB an on-resistance (RDS(ON) Compared to this device, the mounting area has reduced by around 55% compared while retaining the channel-to-case thermal resistance characteristics (Zth(ch-c)) – XPJR6604PB = 0.4ºC/W and XPJ1R004PB = 0.67ºC/W.
Many automotive applications are based in severely harsh environments, so the reliability of surface mount solder joints is a critical consideration. Toshiba’s S-TOGLTM package uses gull-wing leads that reduce mounting stress, improving the reliability of the solder joint.
Suited to harsh temperature environments, the MOSFETs are AEC-Q101 qualified and capable of operating at channel temperatures (Tch) as high as 175ºC.
Toshiba offers matched shipments for the devices, in which the gate threshold voltage range does not exceed 0.4V for each reel. This facilitates designs with small characteristic variations for applications requiring parallel connectivity for high-current operation.
Original – Toshiba
LATEST NEWS / PROJECTS / SiC / TOP STORIES / WBG3 Min Read
onsemi announced the completed expansion of its state-of-the-art, world-largest silicon carbide (SiC) fabrication facility in Bucheon, South Korea. At full capacity, this fab will be able to manufacture more than one million 200 mm SiC wafers per year.
To support the ramp in SiC manufacturing capacity, onsemi plans to hire up to 1,000 local employees over the next three years to fill the mostly highly technical positions – a more than 40% increase over the present workforce of about 2,300.
Silicon carbide devices are a critical component for power conversion in electric vehicles (EVs), energy infrastructure and high-power EV chargers. The rapidly growing demand for these products has created a surge in demand for SiC chips, with demand outpacing supply for the foreseeable future. The expansion of the Bucheon fab addresses the pressing need for additional production capacity, allowing onsemi to continue to provide supply assurance for its customers and strengthen its leadership in intelligent power solutions.
Construction of the new advanced 150 mm/200 mm SiC fab line along with the high-tech utility building and adjacent parking garage began in the middle of 2022 and was completed in September 2023. The expansion of the 150 mm/200 mm SiC Epi and wafer fab emphasizes onsemi’s focus on building out its vertically integrated silicon carbide manufacturing supply chain at brownfield locations. The Bucheon SiC line is starting with the production of 150 mm wafers and will be converted to 200 mm in 2025 upon qualification of the 200 mm SiC process.
onsemi’s leadership was joined by a delegation of dignitaries led by Vice Governor for Economy of the Gyeonggi-Do Taeyoung Yeom; followed by Bucheon City Mayor YongEek Cho; National Assembly delegates; and Bucheon Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chairman JongHuem Kim. Also in attendance were representatives from local communities, customers, suppliers and the semiconductor industry.
onsemi CEO Hassane El-Khoury opened the event, noting, “The 150 mm/200 mm SiC wafer fab in Bucheon is critical to the continued success of our fully integrated SiC supply chain, enabling us to support the acceleration of electrification globally. The last five years have shown what extraordinary performance our Bucheon team is capable of, and what we can achieve when we work together with governmental agencies toward the common goal of a more sustainable future.”
“I am truly impressed by onsemi’s diligent and yet fast execution of its strategic plan to expand the Bucheon SiC wafer fab,” said Bucheon City Mayor YongEek Cho. “Not only will the city of Bucheon benefit from the creation of new employment opportunities in technology, but it will also be a part of laying the foundation for a sustainable ecosystem through electrification.”
Original – onsemi
LATEST NEWS / PROJECTS
Mitsubishi Electric Major Contribution to IEC “Power Semiconductors for an Energy-Wise society” White Paper3 Min Read
Mitsubishi Electric Corporation announced that it played the key role in leading the project to draft the 2023 International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) White Paper entitled “Power Semiconductors for an Energy-Wise society,” which the IEC released on October 17. This is the first time for a White Paper, published annually since 2010, to issue recommendations for developing and expanding international standards and certification systems for power semiconductors.
Each year, the IEC White Paper focuses on electrical, electronic and electromechanical technologies requiring international standardization, and makes related recommendations to the IEC and other organizations.
Power semiconductors, one of Mitsubishi Electric’s core product lines, are expected to continue to advance technologically and be increasingly adopted as key devices that reduce power consumption and efficiently convert electrical energy, supporting the global drive toward carbon neutrality by 2050.
New materials such as silicon carbide (SiC) are being used in advanced power semiconductors for applications such as renewable energy and electric vehicles (EVs), but the development of international standards and certification systems for such devices is lagging. A lack of such standards and certifications could lead to a proliferation of nonconforming products and impede cooperation among manufacturers, users and regulators, thereby hindering the healthy growth of the power semiconductor global market.
In response, Mitsubishi Electric initiated a White Paper project within the IEC Market Strategy Board (MSB) in October 2022. Together with experts from around the world, the project team addressed issues related to power semiconductor technologies, markets, and regulations.
The resulting White Paper summarizes the applications, sectors and technological trends of power semiconductors and highlights the need for the development, alignment, and expansion of respective international standards and certification systems. In particular, the White Paper focuses on the critical role that power semiconductor standards can play in helping to realize emission-free, carbon-neutral industries for a healthier and more prosperous world.
The main points of the 2023 IEC White Paper include:
- Current status and future trends of society, markets, and technologies related to power semiconductors and applications that are essential for realizing an “Energy-Wise society” in which energy is used wisely and efficiently.
- Challenges facing the power semiconductor industry and solutions for achieving carbon neutrality by 2050 through an integrated approach involving relevant regulatory, industry and international standardization organizations around the globe.
- Recommendations for international standardization bodies, particularly the IEC, to establish a roadmap and guidelines for the development of international standards and conformity assessment systems for power semiconductors.
The White Paper project team was led by Dr. Kazuhiko Tsutsumi, Mitsubishi Electric’s specially appointed technical advisor who also serves as IEC Vice President and Chair of the MSB, and included experts from Mitsubishi Electric’s Corporate Intellectual Property Division (Tokyo), Mitsubishi Electric’s Power Device Works (Fukuoka), Mitsubishi Electric Europe B.V. German Branch (Ratingen, Germany), as well as a team of international experts.
Going forward, Mitsubishi Electric will collaborate with power semiconductor companies, users, and regulatory authorities to establish a roadmap for the creation of power semiconductor international standards as recommended in the 2023 IEC White Paper, with the aim of promoting the healthy growth of the power semiconductor market in the quest for carbon neutrality by 2050.
Original – Mitsubishi Electric
GaN / LATEST NEWS / WBG2 Min Read
GaN Systems announced that it will demonstrate the latest breakthroughs of GaN for sustainable and cost-effective power designs at the 2023 China Power Electronics and Energy Conversion Congress and the 26th China Power Supply Society Annual Conference & Exhibition (CPEEC & CPSSC 2023), taking place on November 10-13, 2023, in Guangzhou, China.
Finals of the Annual “GaN Systems Cup” Power Electronics Application Design Competition will kick off concurrently. GaN Systems, as the primary sponsor for nine consecutive years, will participate in the opening ceremony and recognize the winners at the award ceremony.
While power efficiency is at the forefront of global policymaking, advancements in power electronics have gained importance, and talent remains the cornerstone of these advancements. The “GaN Systems Cup” Competition provides a podium for aspiring young engineers to challenge themselves and unlock the full potential of power electronics with GaN power semiconductors.
This year, out of the 68 teams from 46 colleges and universities that participated, 24 qualify for finals. The finalists will present prototype designs for a three-phase inverter using GaN Systems’ power transistors. The panel of judges comprised of experts from the industry and academia will evaluate these prototype designs based on performance in efficiency and power density.
Explore New Opportunities for Power Electronics at the CPEEC & CPSSC 2023
GaN Systems will showcase the latest reference designs for automotive, data center, and consumer industries at Booth 3-026. Its representatives will also be available to discuss the step-function performance boost and industry-leading figures of merit of recently released Gen4 power platform.
Original – GaN Systems
Texas Instruments Incorporated (TI) reported third quarter revenue of $4.53 billion, net income of $1.71 billion and earnings per share of $1.85. Earnings per share included a 5-cent benefit for items that were not in the company’s original guidance.
Regarding the company’s performance and returns to shareholders, Haviv Ilan, TI’s president and CEO, made the following comments:
- “Revenue was flat sequentially and decreased 14% from the same quarter a year ago. During the quarter, automotive growth continued and industrial weakness broadened.
- “Our cash flow from operations of $6.5 billion for the trailing 12 months again underscored the strength of our business model, the quality of our product portfolio and the benefit of 300-mm production. Free cash flow for the same period was $1.6 billion.
- “Over the past 12 months we invested $3.7 billion in R&D and SG&A, invested $4.9 billion in capital expenditures and returned $5.6 billion to owners.
- “TI’s fourth quarter outlook is for revenue in the range of $3.93 billion to $4.27 billion and earnings per share between $1.35 and $1.57. We continue to expect our 2023 effective tax rate to be about 13% to 14%.”
Original – Texas Instruments
Wolfspeed, Inc. announced that Thomas Werner, a board member since 2006, has been elected the new Chairman of the Board, effective immediately. Werner succeeds Darren Jackson, who stepped down as chair after five years in the role. Jackson will continue to serve as a member of the Wolfspeed Board. In addition, Board Member Stacy Smith will replace John Replogle as the Chair of the Governance and Nominations Committee.
“Wolfspeed is thrilled to welcome Tom as our new Board Chair,” said Gregg Lowe, Wolfspeed President & CEO. “Tom is a proven innovator with vast experience in the energy and semiconductor industries, and will provide invaluable leadership as we further scale our operations to meet the growing demand for silicon carbide power devices.”
“It is my honor to serve as Wolfspeed’s Board Chair, and help Wolfspeed as it leads the transition from silicon to silicon carbide,” said Werner. “Wolfspeed is on the cusp of truly changing the power electronics industry, and I am excited to be a part of that transformation.”
Werner is a distinguished industry leader with more than 25 years of experience in semiconductor, disruptive technology and energy organizations. Werner previously served as the Chairman of the Board of Directors for SunPower Corporation, a publicly traded manufacturer and marketer of high-efficiency solar cells and solar panels, after serving as the Chief Executive Officer of SunPower for 18 years.
Smith is the Executive Chairman of Kioxia Corporation (formerly Toshiba Memory Corporation), a leading flash memory company, and Non-Executive Chair of the Board at Autodesk, Inc., a global leader in design and make technology. Prior to his Board positions, Mr. Smith worked at Intel Corporation for three decades in a variety of roles including as Group President of Sales, Manufacturing and Operations, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Information Officer, and Head of Europe Middle East and Africa.
Original – Wolfspeed