Microsemi to develop 1.7 kV and 3.3 kV SiC MOSFETS and Diodes

Microsemi to develop 1.7 kV and 3.3 kV SiC MOSFETS and Diodes

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty

The project is part of Microsemi’s new membership of PowerAmerica, a $70m manufacturing institute obringing together semiconductor companies, the US Department of Energy, national laboratories and academia to accelerate the commercialisation and adoption of wide band gap semiconductors. This gives Microsemi access to 11 university research programs, three federal collaborators and over 10 startups committed to growing wide band gap technology. The UK is launching a similar five year project with the same level of funding. 

The 1.7 kV and 3.3 kV devices will expand the number of applications where SiC technology can be used through  higher efficiency, high temperature/voltage operational stability, better power handling and smaller form factors. Aimed at the industrial and aerospace markets, as well as the defence market where US-based suppliers are necessary, target applications for the devices include automotive electrification, railway application (traction), aerospace actuation systems, power generation and distribution, solar inverters, motor drive and electromagnetic railgun.

“We are pleased our leadership in the SiC market as well as our investment in this technology have been recognized by PowerAmerica’s leadership, and we are excited to leverage our expertise as we collaborate with this talented consortium,” said Leon Gross, vice president and business unit manager for Microsemi’s Power Discretes and Modules business unit. “As one of the limited number of suppliers serving this market, Microsemi looks forward to providing cost-effective state-of-the-art 1.7 kV and 3.3 kV SiC devices with the ability for quick high volume scale up via a 6-inch foundry with short lead times, ultimately leading to faster design cycles for customers.”

Working with Power America allows Microsemi to extend its ability to offer the same high-level system integration it provides in aerospace applications with its intelligent power solutions (IPS) such as the power core module (PCM) and hybrid power drive (HPD). 

“Microsemi’s six decades of experience developing high-reliability semiconductor solutions combined with its continuing commitment to innovate, lead and adapt to a rapidly changing landscape, will help accelerate the adoption of SiC in the power electronics industry,” said Dr Victor Veliadis, deputy executive director and chief technology officer of PowerAmerica. “PowerAmerica is proud to join forces with Microsemi to transition its 1.7 kV SiC process to high volume ramp and develop 3.3 kV devices which are critical for traction and high voltage direct current (HVDC) grid applications.”

According to market research firm IHS Markit Technology, the SiC power device market is forecast to reach approximately $1.4 billion in 2021, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 38 percent from 2015 to 2021. The firm also describes how the benefits of SiC are influencing the development of new end products. Microsemi is well-positioned with these trends, with its SiC MOSFETs and diodes offering superior dynamic and thermal performance over conventional Silicon power devices, among other advantages.

Key features of Microsemi’s 1.7 kV and 3.3 kV SiC devices will include high reliability at 175 ºC, AEC-Q101 qualification and an Rds(on) less than 7 mΩ.cm2 for the 1.7 kV MOSFETs, the lowest known among available products in the market. The avalanche energy rating (UIS) will be over 15J/cm2, making the device highly rugged for industrial and automotive applications and the highest known UIS rating for any 1.7 kV SiC MOSFET available today, while the short circuit withstand time (SCWT) of ~5μs would be the longest for devices in the 1.7 kV class today, ensuring safe operation/shut-off under fault conditions

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