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Technical Features

March 2020
 Electric Vehicle Power Electronics Push Test Equipment Performance Limits

Figure: LV123 Operational status vs. operating voltage ranges

Power Electronics in New Vehicle Systems Automotive electronics are changing in dramatic ways. While it is true that “traditional” internal combustion engine vehicles still dominate the market, the automotive world is racing into a disruptive future. The market demand for reduction in the use of fossil fuels
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Date:
06/30/2020
GaN and 48 V – Where are We and Where are We Going?

Figure 1: Si MOSFET-based architecture for providing AC power to the CPU or GPU

Three years ago, the cost of making medium voltage eGaN FETs fell below the cost of equivalently rated power MOSFETs.  At that time EPC decided to use the performance and cost advantages of eGaN FETs to aggressively pursue applications with input, or output, voltage around 48 V. Specifically, automotive an
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Date:
03/31/2020
Trends in Electromagnetic & Magnetic Components

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Figure 1 - Complete 3D CAD tool suites offer capability to create production level drawings

For many designers these magnetic and electromagnetic components are considered very “low tech”. The reality is, however, that much technology and know-how is applied to designing and constructing these passive components: moving their capability inexorably forward. Technological developments - energy
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Date:
03/30/2020
Powering Processors and FPGAs with the New TDK µPOL

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Figure 1: A typical ‘power tree’ for a Xilinx Zynq 7 device

Minimising power consumption is a high priority and in digital devices, it is directly related to voltage swing and data rates. Consequently, supply voltages have steadily reduced from 5V to sub-1V with sub-sections of devices having separate supply rails: processor cores between 0.56V to 0.88V on next generation 7n
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Date:
03/30/2020

Eco-Sustainability Using Pressure-less Silver Sintering

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Figure 1. Dispense Line Consistency (um)

Silver sintering provides a void-free strong bond with superior thermal and electrical conductivity. It can decrease the junction temperature (Tj) of a device up to 100°C. In the process, when the material is heated under optimal pressure, temperature and time, its form will change from powder to a solid structure. Th
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Date:
03/30/2020
SiC Semiconductors Towards an Energy Efficient Auto Industry

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Figure 1. The above graph shows the strong growth opportunity at hand as emission standards drive a significant shift to battery electric vehicles. (Source: Yole and Cree estimates)

It’s no secret that the automotive industry is striving for "zero emissions" transportation, which means manufacturers are rapidly ramping up their electrification programs. Most OEMs target 2025 for significant sales volumes of battery and hybrid electric vehicles (BEV and HEV). To meet customer ex
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Date:
03/30/2020
CES 2020: The Power Behind the Robot

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Figure 1. A baby-faced service robot on the CES 2020 show floor. (Picture courtesy of Reno Rossetti)

At this year’s CES 2020 in Las Vegas, service robots where a big hit on the show floor. It’s easy to understand why: they look and are, indeed, exotic. Among the automated machines I saw at CES: Samsung’s Ballie, a personal assistant the size of a tennis ball that rolls on the floor, following its owner an
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Date:
03/30/2020
The Ethernet of Things

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Figure 1. Twisted pairs in an Ethernet cable powered by Power over Ethernet

Wireless technology continues to expand into more applications, delivering higher data rates, lower power and superior coverage. Wired Ethernet connections may seem like ancient technology sitting in the rear-view mirror beside fax machines, dialup modems and dot matrix printers. Yet Ethernet, with its low latency, de
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Date:
03/30/2020
Making Cables Safer

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Figure 1: LAPP’s Ölflex Classic control cables include the flame-retardant 130H version, which is suitable for facilities that face high fire risks.

Power, control and communication cables have undoubtedly contributed to the spread of many fires due to their flammability and prevalence throughout buildings. Defective cabling can also be an ignition source. To improve success in evacuating burning buildings and quickly extinguishing fires, the European Union (E
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Date:
03/30/2020
Selecting a Power Supply for Operation on Three-Phase Input

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Figure 1: Delta configuration

Power supplies with a rated output of greater than 2,500W often require, or have an option for, a high voltage three phase AC input. A load of 3,000W, for example, operating from a single phase 230Vac input will consume 13A (3000W / 230V = 13A). The same load operating from a 400Vac three phase input will draw jus
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Date:
03/30/2020
Hybrid Regulated Ratio Tech for Intermediate Bus Converters

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Figure 1: HRR operation is similar to fixed ratio at lower Vin, but limits Vout at higher values of Vin

When designing the distributed power architecture for applications such as data centers, an isolated intermediate bus converter (IBC) might be used to take a nominal 48V or 54V input and generate a 10V to 12V bus for one or more downstream point-of-load (PoL) converters. In the past, there have been broadly tw
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Date:
03/30/2020
FPGA Power System Management

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Figure 1. One possible FPGA power tree: a high voltage input supply (for example, 12 V, 24 V, or 48 V) is stepped down to an intermediate voltage bus feeding the POL regulators that power the FPGA

Since the 1980s, FPGA resources, speed, and efficiency have improved rapidly, making FPGAs the go-to solution for a wide variety of computing and processing applications, especially when production volume doesn’t justify application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) development costs. FPGAs have advanced to
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Date:
03/30/2020
Smart Connected Sensors Drive Innovation at the Factory

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Figure 1. Sensors must offer versatility for broad applicability

Connected devices and smart equipment are streamlining manufacturing and supply chain processes on a global scale. Smart sensors are at the heart of this movement, driving change by extending the inherent capabilities of legacy sensors. Today, sensor technology that merely collected, stored and monitored data ca
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Date:
03/30/2020
Supercapacitors Deliver Reliable Warehouse Automation Power

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Figure 1a. Example voltage and current discharge curves for 10 kW discharge from one module with 56 V float voltage

Warehouse automation systems include robots, high speed shuttles and pallet movers used extensively in warehouses, storage facilities, and manufacturing plants to pick, transport, and place materials at various locations within a building. Efficient use of power throughout these systems ensure logistics companies pr
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Date:
03/30/2020
Switches: Critical to Modern Industrial Sensors

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Figure 1. Rated to IP67, the KSC3 series sealed tact switch offers positive adaptable tactile feeling

Machines can now outperform their human counterparts in activities that range from parts assembly to more cognitive tasks including self-learning algorithms for data mining and pattern recognition. At the center of this new industrial revolution are sensor switches that can simplify both factory and process au
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Date:
03/30/2020
Isolated, Nonisolated ±12 V Outputs from 30 V to 400 V Input

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Figure 1. A complete ±12 V/50 mA isolated flyback converter for a wide input range, 30 V to 400 V.

Electric vehicles, large-scale battery storage stacks, home automation, industrial, and telecom power all require converting high voltages to ±12 V, where dual polarity rails are required for powering amplifiers, sensors, data converters, and industrial process controllers. One challenge in all of these systems is
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Date:
03/02/2020
Powering the Next Sophisticated AI System

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Table 1: Advanced Controllers vs. Analog-Based and Digital Control Solutions

AI systems imitate the human brain’s capacity to learn and solve problems. They accomplish this with computer-based “neural” networks consisting of parallel processors that run complex learning and execute software algorithms. Today’s AI is revolutionizing computing architecture to replicate neural
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Date:
03/02/2020
How to Improve Thermal Performance of Ignition IGBTs

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Figure 1. Simplified schematic of the Ignition IGBT test circuit and the resulting IGBT gate voltage, collector current, and dissipated power. P1 is the ON-state power loss and P2 is the discharging cycle power loss

As a result of greater pollution and more stringent regulations, electric and hybrid research and development includes developments in more efficient internal combustion engines and alternative fuels. While the all-electric vehicle is considered the leading solution to eliminate pollutants from vehicles, a number of
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Date:
03/02/2020
When Does it Make Sense to Switch Out Si for SiC?

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Figure 1: RDS(on) comparison for a CoolSiC device using various gate drive voltages at different temperatures

Switch mode power supplies (SMPS) have continued to improve in the overall efficiencies that are attainable when using classic silicon (Si) MOSFET technology. This has been achieved by pushing the boundaries with new silicon fabrication processes, design methodologies, and using these devices in innovative new to
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Date:
03/02/2020
SiC MOSFET Gate-Driver Design for Efficiency and Reliability

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Figure 1. A large driver source current is needed to charge gate capacitances quickly. Source: ON Semiconductor TND6237/D

Silicon carbide power MOSFETs are moving closer to approximate price parity with conventional silicon MOSFETs or IGBTs. Their key advantages are lower RDS(ON) and reduced switching losses, breakdown voltages comparable to IGBTs, and greater temperature capability. These give designers of power-conversion systems su
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Date:
03/02/2020
Testing GaN Devices to Failure

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Figure 1: Weibull plots of gate-to-source failures of EPC2212. Note that very few failures occur even at 8 VGS , yet the device has a maximum VGS rating of 6 V. The data on the left is at 25oC and the data on the right is at 120oC

Standard qualification testing for semiconductors typically involves stressing devices at-or-near the limits specified in their data sheets for a prolonged period of time, or for a certain number of cycles.  The goal of qualification testing is to have zero failures out of a relatively large group of parts te
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Date:
03/02/2020
GaN Takes the Baton from Silicon to Support High Efficiency

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Figure 1: GaN optimized for fast switching

As silicon-based technology approaches its evolutionary limits, design engineers are now looking to wide bandgap technologies such as gallium nitride (GaN) to provide a solution. Unusually for a new technology, GaN is inherently lower cost than the technology it will supercede, namely silicon. GaN devices a
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Date:
03/02/2020
GaN Type Determines Design Benefits

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Figure 1: Two-chip normally-off high voltage GaN FET

Two-chip normally-off Gallium Nitride (GaN) FETs are currently used in in-production power systems in various markets ranging from Consumer Adapters, PC Gaming to Broad Industrial. Within these applications, the GaN devices regularly demonstrate the end-to-end benefits expected from GaN, including increased ef
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Date:
03/02/2020
Enabling High-Density Multi-Kilowatt Grid Converters w/ GaN

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Figure 1: Examples of grid-tied converters

Grid converters manage the flow of power between the electric grid and loads, as well as energy storage and generation sources. Their efficient operation and physical size have become more important recently for a couple of reasons. First, any inefficiency has a direct impact on operating costs, as well as cooling an
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Date:
03/02/2020
Follow the Yellow SiC Road
Growth in electric vehicle adoption is now exponential. According to the International Energy Agency ‘Global EV Outlook 2019’ document, there were over 5 million electric passenger cars on the roads in 2018, up 63% from 2017, with the figure set to reach 250 million in just ten years. This is in the EV30@30 sc
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Date:
03/02/2020
Half Bridge, Gate Driver Measurements for Wide Bandgap

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Figure 1. The half-bridge circuit is widely used to convert electrical energy efficiently in modern designs

The faster switching transitions on modern wide bandgap power devices (SiC, GaN) have made measuring and characterizing a considerable challenge, and in some cases, nearly impossible. That is changing with new isolated probing technologies that are allowing designers to at long last confidently measure half br
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Date:
03/02/2020