Keeping Things Cool

Ally Winning, European Editor, PSD



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Ally Winning, European Editor, PSD

Welcome to the February edition of Power Systems Design Europe. We now know that 2023 was the hottest year on record. Even though it narrowly missed breaching the key international climate target of 1.5oC over the long-term average with a final reading of 1.48oC, the predictions are that this year will be even hotter. The 1.5oC figure was chosen as that is the temperature that climate scientists have calculated will increase the number and magnitude of severe weather events around the world. Although the figure would have to be an average over a period of years until 1.5oC is considered passed, getting so close, so soon, should be worrying for us all. The world’s leaders need to step up our efforts to solve the problem before we pass the point of no return.

One thing that we can do to help in the problem is use less electricity. Although we have cut our reliance on fossil fuels, they still make up a considerable amount of our electricity generation. Part of that solution could be using more efficient products. Luckily, wide-bandgap semiconductors have made it to market to help deliver power more efficiently. For the EV industry especially, SiC has allowed much more efficient design that provides additional range. GaN also has a place in EVs, maybe not in the traction inverter or higher power applications, but there are still a number of other tasks in vehicles where GaN can make a difference. Our Special Report this month looks at wide bandgap semiconductors and the first article in the report look how these new devices can be implemented in EVs. In the piece, Llew Vaughan-Edmunds, Sr. Director at Navitas Semiconductor describes the optimal automotive applications for both SiC and GaN, and how GaN in particular is able to save up to 20% more energy over silicon designs, while reducing the size and weight of power modules. 

The second article in this month’s Special Report comes from Analog Devices. It is a bit different from our normal type of articles as it focuses on RF power amplifiers. GaN has been widely adopted for this role due to its faster switching, efficiency and robustness. However, that robustness does not mean unbreakable. With more demanding applications being introduced all of the time, designers are looking for ways to ensure that they know the condition of the amplifier and how it is performing. The article looks at how that power amplifier performance can be maximized, while also being monitored and protected through the use of electronics.

In addition to the articles in the Special report, this month’s magazine also features general articles that will be of interest to power engineers in our Tech Focus section, as well as the latest news and views from the industry.


Best regards,

Ally Winning

European Editor, PSD