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DR. PETER FRIEDRICHS AND MARC BUSCHKÜHLE INFINEON TECHNOLOGIES AG The Future of Power Semiconductors: Rugged and High Performing Silicon Carbide Transistors In the past, energy efficiency was the key design and marketing road to success with solar converters. SiC diodes, for example used as part of the booster circuit, were the best solution to achieve efficiency levels of 98 percent or better. The use of SiC based power semiconductor solutions has shown a huge increase over the last years, it is a revolution to rely on. Driving forces behind this market development are the following trends: energy saving, size reduction, system integration and improved reliability. SiC devices are well placed to meet all the above market challenges. The new wide band gap technology is more than an evolutionary step forward, as we have seen in previous years with each new generation of silicon power devices, but has the capability to be a real game changer. SiC based systems have the revolutionary capability which can be characterized by a steep change in performance which can make them attractive for designers targeting innovative and disruptive solutions. IGBTs or Super-Junction MOSFETs in combination with SiC Diodes have already become the norm in various applications, such as solar, chargers or power supplies. This combination – a fast silicon based switch matched with a SiC Diode – is often termed a “hybrid” solution. In recent years Infineon has manufactured several million hybrid modules and has seen them installed in various customer products. The first worldwide Hybrid module was developed more than ten years ago based on Infineon’s EconoPACK™ package platform. Figure 1: World’s first hybrid module solution in production since 2006. Certain application segments will always be early adaptors of any new technology. Depending on the actual system value others will follow when cost/performance of the new technology is attractive enough to make a switch to a new higher technology solution. After the already well established designs using SiC diodes in high-end power supplies Infineon has identified solar inverters and boost circuits as the area’s most likely to benefit the most from this new technology. Behind this the associated market segments of Uninterruptible Power Supplies (UPS) and chargers are likely to follow. It is expected that more traditional segments like motor drives, traction and on a long time scale, automotive applications will in the future become very interested in a large scale change over to the new semiconductor technology. In the past, energy efficiency was the key design and marketing road to success with solar converters. SiC diodes, for example used as part of the booster circuit, were the best solution to achieve efficiency levels of 98 percent or better. Today, the ongoing major trend in solar designs is the increase of power density based on a reduction of switching losses, enabling smaller heatsinks, and also allowing higher operating frequencies, enabling smaller magnetics. SiC diodes have increasingly become a staple component in modern solar string inverter solutions as well as in micro-inverter applications. Recently, Infineon’s SiC diode technology reached its 5th generation. SiC diodes made further progress by using options for die shrink in order to achieve a more attractive cost position. In addition, new technology features were implemented which will give additional customer benefits compared to the previous generations for example lower forward voltage drop, resulting in lower conduction losses, increased surge current capability and an enhancement of the breakdown behavior. Hybrid solutions are a standard part of today’s solar inverters all around the world. Infineon has become a trusted partner of this technology after more than 15 years availability, a proven track record and dependable high volume production. With its integrated manufacturing concept – manufacturing of SiC chips utilizing the same production lines as the high volume silicon power chips – Infineon is able to guarantee reliability and process stability at the same level as its silicon products. In addition, this integrated concept brings volume flexibility, a key factor in order to handle needed emerging technologies in fast moving market segments. Based on a deep system understanding and a clear focus on cost performance it has been possible to successfully define products by forming optimized combinations between silicon and silicon carbide based semiconductors. This move, away from a purely semiconductor technology driven definition of products, towards solutions tailor made for the targeted system is seen as a key element for the success of SiC in the future. Based on the experience with the diode technology, a similar roll out of SiC transistors will follow in the next few years. This is an important next step in order to move SiC much closer to the level of a mainstream technology. As listed above, key elements will be: • proven ruggedness SOLAR POWER 22 energética INDIA · MAY | JUN16


energetica-india-57_asiapowerweek
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