WBG Materials Coming of Age

Author:
Ally Winning, European Editor, PSD

Date
03/02/2023

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Ally Winning, European Editor, PSD

­As we head into Spring, hopefully as the weather picks up, it gives the economy a bit of a lift too. It’s definitely been a tough few years with the COVID-19 pandemic followed closely by the war in Ukraine. Both of these events have disrupted the global supply chain and led to spiralling inflation. However, we may be the lucky ones. In an interview for PSD’s TechTalk newsletter, Mouser’s Mark Burr-Lonnon said that he’d rather be in electronics than almost any other other industry at the moment. You can read about that and the rest of the conversation here. We have lined up some great content for future TechTalk newsletters, so subscribe if you can. 

There’s no doubt that some of that content will feature wide bandgap materials. That’s no surprise considering the changes that they’ve made to the industry, even though the technology is still only in its infancy. We are only just starting to see consumer devices and stand-alone power supplies branded with GaN labelling, and generally these are at the higher end of the market, for example in gaming PCs or high end mobile phones. The advantages of wide-bandgap materials are undeniable, and as the technology matures and fabs with larger wafers come online, costs will drop and it will be more difficult to find a power product that doesn’t include SiC or GaN materials. At some point in the future, we may even have to start up a silicon Special Report in the magazine for those left trying to squeeze the final gains out of the element.

Until then, we will have to stick with wide bandgap technology, and indeed, that is the Special Report subject in this month’s magazine. The first featured article is from Navitas Semiconductor, and the biggest surprise is the company are not going to write about GaN. Last year, Navitas acquired SiC pioneer GeneSiC Semiconductor. In this month’s article, Llew Vaughan-Edmunds, senior director of marketing at Navitas, takes a look at the industry, SiC devices, their applications and where the technology is heading. 

The second article in the Special Report is more practical. It comes from Qorvo and is written by application engineer, Mike Zhu. In the article Mike describes the best practices to avoid component stress and EMI noise when designing a PCB that will contain SiC FETs. If care is not taken, induced currents and voltages can even lead to the destruction of the device itself. The final article this month is from EPC. The company’s Michael de Rooij presents the design of a 2 kW, two-phase 48 V/12 V bi-directional converter using GaN FETs that achieves 96% efficiency and is targeted for mild hybrid systems.

As well as the Special Report, we will have general power features in the Tech Focus section and the latest news and views from the industry. I hope you enjoy!

 

Best Regards,

Ally Winning

European Editor, PSD

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