Wide-Bandgap Semiconductors Take Over APEC

Jason Lomberg, North American Editor, PSD



In March, I discussed gallium nitride (GaN) and silicon carbide (SiC) in the run up to the Applied Power Electronics Conference and Exposition. And with APEC 2019 in the books, I wanted to cover the wide-bandgap highlights from the most important power show of the year.

First up is UnitedSiC, which announced a range of SiC JFET dies suitable for co-packaging with a controller IC. Ranging from 650 V to 1700 V, these SiC JFETs enable simplified start-up implementation and are suitable for low-power AC-DC flyback converters.

Microchip was touting their user-friendly reference designs, which enable developers to kickstart SiC semiconductor devices using the next-generation SiC Schottky Barrier Diodes (SBDs) and SiC MOSFETs. Their scalable 30-kilowatt (kW), three-phase Vienna Power Factor Correction (PFC) topology reference design is well suited for fast Electric Vehicle (EV) charging and other high-power automotive and industrial applications.

Texas Instruments flaunted the industry’s first devices to offer integrated sensing features for insulated-gate bipolar transistors (IGBTs) and silicon carbide (SiC) metal-oxide semiconductor field-effect transistors (MOSFETs) to simplify designs and enable greater system reliability in applications operating up to 1.5 KVRMS.

On Semiconductor introduced two new silicon carbide (SiC) MOSFET devices, an industrial-grade and automotive-grade device that bring the enabling, wide-ranging performance benefits of wide-bandgap technology to automotive DC-DC and onboard charger applications. And Littelfuse announced two additions to their line of 650V, AEC-Q101-qualified SiC Schottky Diodes. The new products sport negligible reverse recovery current, high surge capability, a maximum operating junction temperature of 175°C, and current ratings from 6A to 40A.

On the GaN front, Transphorm’s Gen III GaN platform recently passed the Automotive Electronics Council’s AEC-Q101 stress tests for automotive-grade discrete semiconductors. The JEDEC-qualified, high-voltage platform was able to perform at up to 175°C during qualification testing.

GaN Systems showed off the industry’s highest-current 650 V GaN E-HEMTs with the addition of the 150 A, 650 V and the 80 A, 650 V to its line of GaN power transistors. The company claims the 150 A, 650 V transistor is unmatched on both current (80 A at 22 mΩ) and resistance (50 A at 18 mΩ).

Alpha and Omega Semiconductor was showcasing their 70 mohm/650 V GaN e-mode switch targeted for adapter and server power. They also had the 100 V equivalent at their booth.

Renesas showed off their radiation-hardened GaN portfolio for small satellite mega-constellations. This included a 100V GaN half-bridge power stage reference design featuring a rad-hard, low side GaN FET driver, 200V GaN FET and rad-tolerant digital isolators, and a 28V GaN flyback converter reference design featuring a rad-tolerant PWM controller and low side GaN driver.

And finally, I’d like to give a special shout-out to PowerAmerica, a Department of Energy institute with the stated goal of accelerating the adoption of next generation silicon carbide (SiC) and gallium nitride (GaN) power electronics.

At APEC, PowerAmerica was promoting their Member Initiated Projects, which address topics of great interest to the industry and the SiC and GaN ecosystem, generally. Its first round of Member Initiated Projects last year included “Reliability Analysis of Wide-Bandgap Semiconductor Devices,” from CoolCAD Electronics, “Short-Circuit Behavior and Protection of Next Generation SiC Modules,” from Ohio State, and Virginia Tech’s “WBG Integrated High Voltage APM/OBCM Converter for Future Use in Autonomous Vehicles.”

Hope you had a great APEC, and as always, see our full coverage of wide-bandgap semiconductors at https://www.powersystemsdesign.com/pages/wide-bandgap-semis/138