Power Semiconductors Weekly+ Vol. 07

AMP’s Innovative Electric Vehicle Charging Solutions Utilize Wolfspeed’s E-Series Silicon Carbide Devices

AMP, a global leader in connected battery management and charging technologies for electric mobility,  announced the integration of Wolfspeed’s E-Series Silicon Carbide MOSFETs into AMP’s e-mobility Energy Management Unit. Using Wolfspeed’s innovative Silicon Carbide technology allows AMP to optimize battery performance, charging, and costs.

“At AMP, we understand the power that Silicon Carbide brings to vehicle electrification. We are proud to collaborate with another U.S.-based company on technologies that make a greener and smarter tomorrow,” said Jiaqi Liang, VP of hardware engineering at AMP. “The use of Wolfspeed’s Silicon Carbide in AMP’s Energy Management Unit (EMU) unlocks higher power density and efficiency, better platform scalability, and precise charging control. All are acutely observed by consumers through improvements in cabin space, charging time, and lower cost.”

AMP’s market-ready energy management solution integrates ultra-fast DC charging, DC-DC, and bi-directional on-board AC charging into a single platform, providing optimal charging experience, monitoring, care, and performance of batteries.

“AMP’s integration of our technology signals continued growth for Silicon Carbide in the automotive industry,” said Jay Cameron, SVP and general manager, Power at Wolfspeed. “The expansion of our automotive-qualified 650V and 1200V E-Series Silicon Carbide MOSFET portfolio allows AMP to easily deploy their products for either 400V or 800V systems.”

Wolfspeed’s E-Series MOSFETs are optimized for use in automotive applications, such as traction inverters, electric vehicle (EV) onboard battery charging, and high voltage DC-DC converters.

Original – Wolfspeed

Renesas Announces New Sales Organizational Structure and Executive Personnel Changes to Drive Next Phase of Growth

Renesas Electronics Corporation, a premier supplier of advanced semiconductor solutions, announced a new sales organizational structure and executive leadership team appointments to execute on its strategy and growth ambitions. The changes are designed to bolster Renesas’ leadership in embedded semiconductor solutions and serve as a solid foundation for future growth. The new executive team roles and the new organization will take effect January 1, 2023.

1. Integration of Sales and Marketing functions and appointment of Chris Allexandre as Chief Sales & Marketing Officer (CSMO)

To better meet customer needs and bolster the company’s growth, Renesas will combine its sales and marketing functions of its two core business units: the Automotive Solution Business Unit (ABU) and the IoT & Infrastructure Business Unit (IIBU); to create a unified global sales organization.

The new Global Sales & Marketing Unit will provide a stronger and simpler operational backbone. This brings more value by accelerating cross-BU collaboration and contribution. It also allows Renesas to capitalize on the scale advantages by fostering cross selling opportunities and broader customer coverage.

Effective January 1, 2023, Chris Allexandre, currently Senior Vice President and Head of Sales and Corporate Digital Marketing of IIBU, will become the company’s CSMO and Head of the new Global Sales & Marketing Unit.

Since joining Renesas from IDT in 2019, Chris has been instrumental in accelerating revenue growth of Renesas’ IoT and Infrastructure business. He was successful in expanding Renesas presence in new geographies, introducing winning combination solution offerings, and overhauling the sales and distribution channels.

In conjunction with the establishment of the new Global Sales & Marketing Unit, Chris’ responsibilities will encompass Renesas’ entire global sales team leadership. He will lead and align the global sales and marketing functions around the company’s go-to-market strategy to drive revenue growth across portfolios, customer segments and geographies.

“The combined sales organizational model we are unveiling today is critical to our growth strategy. It will make us more agile and competitive and drive new and existing customer growth through operational efficiencies,” said Chris Allexandre, Senior Vice President and Head of Sales and Corporate Digital Marketing, IoT & Infrastructure Business Unit of Renesas. “As Renesas embarks on the next phase of growth, advancement and scale, I am excited to lead a world-class organization focused on delivering more solutions to more customers and enhancing our customer experience and engagement at both our automotive and IoT & Infrastructure customers.”

2. Appointment of Vivek Bhan as Co-General Manager of Automotive Solution Business Unit

Vivek Bhan has been appointed Co-General Manager of the Automotive Solution Business Unit (ABU), effective January 1, 2023. Vivek currently serves as Senior Vice President and Deputy General Manager of ABU, responsible for Renesas’ automotive analog and power (A&P) product business.

Vivek joined Renesas’ leadership team as Senior Vice President on August 31, 2021, following the completion of the Dialog acquisition. Vivek has a wealth of product and engineering leadership experience in the semiconductor industry. In his new role, Vivek will expand his responsibility to lead both automotive digital and A&P products. Vivek will also be responsible for formulating ABU’s mid-to-long term strategy, product roadmap and product execution and will be accountable for the ABU P&L and revenue growth.

Following this change, Takeshi Kataoka, currently Senior Vice President and General Manager of ABU, will be leading the day-to-day management and operations of the automotive solutions business as Co-General Manager of ABU, alongside Vivek. This includes ensuring smooth and cost-effective manufacturing and supply chain management.

These changes to the automotive leadership team are designed to fully unlock the potential of the Renesas’ core automotive business by further increasing focus, agility and accountability.

Original – Renesas

onsemi joins Arrow McLaren SP as a Primary Partner of No. 6 IndyCar piloted by Felix Rosenqvist

onsemi, a leader in intelligent power and sensing technologies, announced that it joined McLaren Racing as an Official Partner of the Arrow McLaren SP Team and its No. 6 Chevrolet, piloted by Felix Rosenqvist, for the 2023 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season. As a leading semiconductor manufacturer with a global supply chain, onsemi delivers intelligent technology solutions to help customers create products focused on sustainability, including electric vehicles and advanced safety features, to increase energy efficiency.

Arrow McLaren SP relies on onsemi components in critical hardware on its race cars, such as steering wheels, enabling a more efficient design, without compromising power and safety. As McLaren looks forward to the new hybrid powertrain, onsemi will continue to be a key partner, as it builds a more sustainable racing environment.

“We’re delighted that onsemi will be joining us to lead the identity of Felix’s race car in 2023,” said Matt Dennington, executive director, Partnerships & Accelerator, McLaren Racing. “This partnership is crucial to our team, with onsemi’s technology ingrained in the Arrow McLaren SP race cars. Like McLaren, onsemi is determined to make a positive impact beyond its sector, making this a transformational union of brands both on and off the racetrack. We look forward to a successful partnership and joining forces in pursuit of the IndyCar Championship together.”

The partnership unites two brands in alignment with their pioneering spirits. McLaren has a history of pushing the limits by competing in different race series and applying its technological innovation outside of motorsport, while onsemi thrives on being a disruptive semiconductor company, surpassing competition through a broad, solutions-based portfolio and premium experiences across industries.

onsemi will be the car title partner for Felix’s No. 6 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet for a selection of races in 2023, including the Grand Prix of Long Beach, Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix, Grand Prix at Road America, and the Bommarito Automotive Group 500. The onsemi brand will be represented on all three Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet cars and team kit throughout the full 2023 season.

“Our partnership with Arrow McLaren SP, along with Felix behind the wheel, is a prime opportunity to reinforce onsemi’s commitment to automotive safety and efficiency, while demonstrating our superior power management and hyper-performance capabilities,” said Hassane El-Khoury, president and chief executive officer, onsemi. ”Over the years, not only has racing focused on producing the fastest and best performance for the racing teams, it has also been a catalyst for disruptive, breakthrough technologies in safety and efficiency – many of which have made their way into the consumer market. This platform will enable us to push the next generation of advancements in sustainable automotive solutions and boost consumer adoption.”

Original – onsemi

Nexperia Invests in Sustainable Alternatives to Batteries

Nexperia, the expert in essential semiconductors, announced a broadening to its portfolio of power management products to include energy harvesting solutions. Energy can be harvested from light, vibrations, radio waves or temperature gradients and can therefore be used to replace batteries in low-power applications like smart wearables and autonomous wireless sensor nodes.

The expansion of Nexperia’s expertise comes through the acquisition of Netherlands-based Nowi, founded in 2016. Nowi’s PMICs combine the smallest PCB footprint with the lowest BOM cost and the best average harvesting performance. The manufacturing capacity and capability of Nexperia as well as its global infrastructure will ensure that together, Nowi will be able to speed the production of these solutions enabling higher volume production and shipping by the end of 2022 and early 2023.

“Nowi represents a strategically important investment because energy harvesting is the perfect complement to Nexperia’s existing power management capabilities,” says Dan Jensen, General Manager Business Group Analog & Logic ICs at Nexperia. “This decision means Nexperia can now offer customers a sustainable alternative to battery power for their products, that will be available in the market quickly. The team at Nowi has built a strong foundation on which we are only looking to build and facilitate the ability to scale – both from the production side, but also the business and the team. We are excited to be bringing the Nowi team into the Nexperia family.”

“Becoming part of Nexperia makes sense on many levels,” according to Simon van der Jagt, Nowi B.V. CEO. “Having access to the fabrication, sales, and marketing infrastructure of a large semiconductor manufacturer will allow us to bring better products to market much faster. Our shared Dutch heritage will bring added synergy to future activities. The team is very excited about the future as part of Nexperia and together achieving our mission. We will be better together, stronger together.” 

The completion of the acquisition took place on November 11, 2022.

Original – Nexperia

CGD and Neways Sign GaN-based Clean Energy Deal at Electronica 2022

Cambridge GaN Devices (CGD), the fabless, clean-tech semiconductor company that develops a range of energy-efficient GaN-based power devices to make greener electronics possible, and Neways Electronics (Neways), the international innovator in electronics for smart mobility, semiconductor, and connectivity solutions, signed an agreement to develop high efficiency, photovoltaic solar inverter products based on gallium nitride technology at Electronica 2022.

The partnership, which was forged after the two companies met while collaborating on the European-funded GaNext project, has already borne fruit. At Electronica, both on the Neways booth, and at CGD’s booth (Hall C3, Booth 535), visitors were able to see a demo of a 3kW photovoltaic inverter jointly developed by the two companies. Using eight CGD65A055S2 GaN transistors, this transformer-less, ultra-compact design achieves a power density of 1kW/L. With a Vin of 150-350VDC, a Vout of 230VAC and a switching frequency 350kHz the design has a maximum efficiency of 99.22%.

Original – Businesswise

Navitas Semiconductor and Avnet Silica Announce Agreement for Close Collaboration to Expand Market for Advanced GaN Power ICs

Navitas Semiconductor, an industry leader in gallium nitride (GaN) power ICs, and Avnet Silica, an Avnet company, announced close cooperation between the two companies to grow the market in Europe for Navitas’ advanced performance and highly power efficient GaNFast™ power ICs with GaNSense technology.

The two companies will work closely together to deliver their combined complementary knowhow to bring a high level of support and expertise to customers across the EMEA region.

GaN is a next-generation semiconductor technology that is growing in importance because of its ability to offer significantly improved performance over conventional silicon semiconductors, while also reducing the energy and physical space needed to deliver that performance. It runs up to 20 times faster than silicon and can also enable up to three times more power handling or three times faster charging capability, as well as its size advantages, leading to potentially 20% lower system cost for designers, engineers and power system architects.

Navitas’ leading-edge GaNFast power ICs with GaNSense™ technology integrate power, drive, and control capability, as well as autonomous protection and loss-less current sensing, to deliver the industry’s highest energy efficiency, smallest footprints, and the fastest power-conversion performance. The company’s latest family of GaNSense half-bridge ICs offers a revolutionary, fully integrated, single component solution that enables AC-DC power supplies to achieve MHz switching frequencies in a broad range of soft-switching applications.

“Navitas’ unique GaN technology and its world-renowned monolithically integrated gate driver and feature set will significantly expand our ‘SILICA’ wide-band-gap semiconductor portfolio,” said Gilles Beltran, President Avnet Silica. “Navitas has a depth of expertise in power semiconductors that is unrivalled across the industry for this kind of advanced technology. We envisage this cooperation will bring huge benefits for customers operating at the cutting edge of power system architectures in a wide selection of applications.”

“We chose to work with Avnet Silica as one of the premier experts in semiconductor distribution in Europe,” said David Carroll, Senior Vice President of Worldwide Sales at Navitas. “The combination of our highly differentiated solutions together with Avnet Silica’s expertise in technology markets will further support designers and engineers to meet ever more stringent efficiency and size requirements and regulations. With our highly experienced technical team and our European applications lab, together, we can support customers with the best possible solutions and fastest time-to-market.”

Original – Navitas Semiconductor

Top-side Cooling Simplifies Design and Reduces Cost for Compact Power Solutions

onsemi, a leader in intelligent power and sensing technologies, announced a series of new MOSFET devices that feature innovative top-side cooling to assist designers in challenging automotive applications, especially within motor control and DC/DC conversion. The company is showing the new devices at its booth 101 in hall C4 at electronica, the world’s leading trade fair and conference for electronics.

Housed in a TCPAK57 package measuring just 5mm x 7mm, the new Top Cool devices feature a 16.5mm2 thermal pad on the top side. This allows heat to be dissipated directly into a heatsink rather than via a typical printed circuit board (PCB). By enabling the use of both sides of the PCB and decreasing the amount of heat going into it, the TCPAK57 provides increased power density. Improved reliability of the new design adds to an overall extended system lifetime.

“Cooling is one of the greatest challenges in high power design and successfully addressing it is the key enabler to reducing size and weight, which is critical in modern automotive design,” said Fabio Necco, vice president and general manager, Automotive Power Solutions at onsemi. “With excellent electrical efficiency and having eliminated the PCB from the thermal path, the design is significantly simplified while reducing size and cost.”

The devices deliver the electrical efficiency required in high power applications with RDS(ON) values as low as 1mΩ. Additionally, the gate charge (Qg) is low (65 nC), reducing losses in high-speed switching applications.

This solution leverages onsemi’s deep expertise in packaging to provide the highest power density solution in the industry. TCPAK57 initial portfolio includes 40V, 60V and 80V. All devices are capable of operating at junction temperatures (Tj) of 175°C and are AEC-Q101 qualified and PPAP capable. This, along with their gull wings that allows inspection of solder joints and superior board level reliability, makes them ideally suited to demanding automotive applications. The target applications are high/medium power motor controls such as electric power steering and oil pumps.

Original – onsemi

South Korea, Netherlands Agree to Expand Chip Cooperation

President Yoon Suk-yeol and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte agreed on Thursday to upgrade the bilateral relationship between the two nations to a strategic partnership and expand cooperation in advanced technologies, including chips, nuclear power plants and renewable energy.

This is the second summit between the two leaders since they met on the sidelines of the NATO Summit in Spain in June. They discussed diverse ways to cooperate in the chip sector. During the talks held in the afternoon, the two leaders affirmed the common values between the two countries, and agreed to elevate the bilateral relationship to a strategic partnership that shares profits at the bilateral, regional and global levels. It is the first upgrade in six years since establishing a comprehensive and future-oriented partnership in 2016.

The two leaders also released a joint statement to further expand their cooperation in various fields and jointly address emerging and future common challenges.

“The spirit of freedom and peace was a solid foundation for the development of bilateral relations between Korea and the Netherlands,” Yoon told Rutte at the summit, according to a written statement released by the presidential office. “Based on the spirit, cooperation between the two countries has continued to expand in various fields such as politics, economy and culture over the past 60 years,” he said.

The Netherlands is now “a key partner” in the high-tech sector, such as semiconductors, the nuclear power industry, and renewable energy, Yoon said. The two countries are also “responding to global crises” such as climate change and pandemics.

Rutte responded that the solidarity and friendship between Korea and the Netherlands is “stronger than ever.”

The two leaders agreed to strengthen partnerships in key industries for economic security, such as semiconductors and nuclear power plants. They also vowed to support the private sector to enhance cooperation in the semiconductor industry and secure a resilient global supply chain. Dutch multinational corporation, ASML, officially announced an investment of 240 billion won ($174.5 million) in South Korea when its CEO Peter Wennink attended the groundbreaking ceremony of ASML’s Hwaseong cluster “New Campus”.

ASML is the largest supplier for the semiconductor industry and the sole supplier in the world of extreme ultraviolet lithography photolithography machines used to manufacture the most advanced chips. It supplies semiconductor equipment to Korean companies such as Samsung Electronics and SK hynix.

Original – The Korea Herald

Third Generation BM3 Silicon Carbide Power Modules Boost Railcar Power System Designs

Smaller in size, lighter in weight, and more efficient in operation, Wolfspeed Silicon Carbide (SiC) requires fewer components than conventional silicon (Si) for auxiliary power in train and traction and offers higher performance due to the unique characteristics of the wide bandgap material.

The newly released Wolfspeed 1200 V third generation BM3 SiC power modules offer the most diverse product range in an industry standard 62 mm package. The BM3 module is designed to meet the requirements of applications with superior system power and efficiency. Developed by Wolfspeed, it redefines the possibilities for energy-efficient design in railways and various industrial applications. The forthcoming 1700 V and higher specification BM3 SiC modules, designed for harsh environments, will further take the BM3 portfolio to a new level.

Wolfspeed is a preferred, vertically integrated Silicon Carbide provider due to its unmatched, 35+ year history and expertise working with SiC power devices. Wolfspeed’s third generation SiC MOSFETs and sixth generation SiC Schottky diodes in the BM3 module product line represent this rich history, culminating in the performance and reliability required to meet a wide variety of industrial and energy management applications. These latest generation SiC devices enable critical applications to obtain higher switching frequencies, higher operating temperatures, higher breakdown voltages, and lower power losses.

In the recently launched 1200 V BM3 product family, Wolfspeed released six half-bridge module variants. The various configurations cover industrial and THB-80 (HV-H3TRB rated) specifications with current ratings from 175 A to 530 A. Wolfspeed’s third generation SiC MOSFETs feature lower on-state resistance than its predecessors, allowing applications to process more power, to run at lower temperatures increasing reliability, and to decrease the size of the required cooling system. Wolfspeed’s latest sixth generation SiC Schottky diode technology has zero reverse recovery loss and offers lower conduction and switching losses than the body diodes typically used by other suppliers.

The new Wolfspeed 1200 V BM3 portfolio offers excellent amperage capability up to 530 A in a standard 62 mm footprint, including solutions with anti-parallel Schottky diodes for applications with high switching frequencies. The THB-80 qualified modules and the forthcoming designs for harsh environments keep the modules robust in extreme temperature and humidity environments. The Wolfspeed BM3 modules have an optimized internal layout achieving the industry’s lowest stray inductance in a 62 mm package, which facilitates practically negligible switching losses and minimizes overshoot for maximum voltage utilization. The only requirements to make the upgrade from the 62mm IGBT package are a short transition time and low development costs. The new 1200 V Wolfspeed BM3 portfolio is suitable for designs in railway and traction, industrial power supplies and test equipment, medical power supplies, and off board fast charging for EVs.

Wolfspeed also offers a series of evaluation kits to quickly and easily examine the performance of BM3 modules. Dynamic performance and system level prototyping can be done by combining Wolfspeed’s evaluation kits with their reference design gate drivers. The evaluation kit features a low power loop inductance of 6 nH for 1200 V (8 nH for the forthcoming 1700 V evaluation board). The gate driver boards allow for switching frequencies up to 70 kHz and feature high-speed overcurrent protection circuitry. The higher switching speeds enabled by SiC components give designers the tools to create railcar power systems which are smaller and lighter than existing systems.

Railcar power systems are demanding. Wolfspeed is up to the challenge. Explore our products to learn more about how Wolfspeed Silicon Carbide can bring higher performance and reliability in train and traction power system designs.

Original – Wolfspeed

onsemi Silicon Carbide Technology Enables All-Electric VISION EQXX to Go Further on a Single Charge

onsemi, a leader in intelligent power and sensing technologies, announced that Mercedes-Benz adopted onsemi silicon carbide (SiC) technology for traction inverters as part of a strategic collaboration. onsemi’s VE-Trac SiC modules increase the efficiency and lower the weight of the all-electric Mercedes-Benz VISION EQXX’s traction inverter, extending the electric vehicle’s (EV’s) range by up to 10%. The EV completed a 1,202 km (747 mile) trip from Stuttgart, Germany to Silverstone, England, holding the record for longest distance traveled on a single charge.

The VISION EQXX sets new standards for electric range and efficiency, while remaining sustainable and luxurious – and consuming less than 10 kWh of energy per 100 km (62 miles). This was achieved by a benchmark drag coefficient of just 0.17, lightweight design, reduced rolling resistance and the use of a battery that stores 100 kWh in 50% less space (and with 30% less weight) than comparable batteries. Key to the unprecedented range is an electrical system that ensures that 95% of the energy stored in the traction battery reaches the wheels – a huge improvement over internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles that are only able to achieve around 30%.

”In addition to its superior SiC technology delivering extended range, onsemi also provides assurance of supply for its SiC solutions, the necessary scale to support production and a broad portfolio of intelligent power and sensing solutions,” said Simon Keeton, executive vice president and general manager, Power Solutions Group at onsemi. “The high efficiency of our SiC solutions allows customers to avoid trade-offs between the cost of the battery and the range of the vehicle.”

A core piece of differentiation is the expertise in packaging, which is critical for improving heat dissipation and increasing power output at a smaller footprint than the closest competitor, as well as reducing the weight and cost of a power module. onsemi is the only large-scale supplier of SiC solutions with end-to-end supply capability, which includes volume SiC boule growth, substrate, epitaxy, device fabrication, best-in-class integrated modules and discrete package solutions.

Original – onsemi

The Transistor of 2047: Expert Predictions. What will the Device be Like on Its 100th Anniversary?

The 100th anniversary of the invention of the transistor will happen in 2047. What will transistors be like then? Will they even be the critical computing element they are today? IEEE Spectrum asked experts from around the world for their predictions.

  • What will transistors be like in 2047?

Expect transistors to be even more varied than they are now, says one expert. Just as processors have evolved from CPUs to include GPUs, network processors, AI accelerators, and other specialized computing chips, transistors will evolve to fit a variety of purposes. “Device technology will become application domain–specific in the same way that computing architecture has become application domain–specific,” says H.-S. Philip Wong, an IEEE Fellow, professor of electrical engineering at Stanford University, and former vice president of corporate research at TSMC.

Despite the variety, the fundamental operating principle—the field effect that switches transistors on and off—will likely remain the same, suggests Suman Datta, an IEEE Fellow, professor of electrical and computer at Georgia Tech, and director of the multi-university nanotech research center ASCENT. This device will likely have minimum critical dimensions of 1 nanometer or less, enabling device densities of 10 trillion per square centimeter, says Tsu-Jae King Liu, an IEEE Fellow, dean of the college of engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, and a member of Intel’s board of directors.

“It is safe to assume that the transistor or switch architectures of 2047 have already been demonstrated on a lab scale”—Sri Samavedam

Experts seem to agree that the transistor of 2047 will need new materials and probably a stacked or 3D architecture, expanding on the planned complementary field-effect transistor (CFET, or 3D-stacked CMOS). [For more on the CFET, see “Taking Moore’s Law to New Heights.”] And the transistor channel, which now runs parallel to the plane of the silicon, may need to become vertical in order to continue to increase in density, says Datta.

AMD senior fellow Richard Schultz, suggests that the main aim in developing these new devices will be power. “The focus will be on reducing power and the need for advanced cooling solutions,” he says. “Significant focus on devices that work at lower voltages is required.”

  • Will transistors still be the heart of most computing in 25 years?

It’s hard to imagine a world where computing is not done with transistors, but, of course, vacuum tubes were once the digital switch of choice. Startup funding for quantum computing, which does not directly rely on transistors, reached US $1.4 billion in 2021, according to McKinsey & Co.

But advances in quantum computing won’t happen fast enough to challenge the transistor by 2047, experts in electron devices say. “Transistors will remain the most important computing element,” says Sayeef Salahuddin, an IEEE Fellow and professor of electrical engineering and computer science at the University of California, Berkeley. “Currently, even with an ideal quantum computer, the potential areas of application seem to be rather limited compared to classical computers.”

Sri Samavedam, senior vice president of CMOS technologies at the European chip R&D center Imec, agrees. “Transistors will still be very important computing elements for a majority of the general-purpose compute applications,” says Samavedam. “One cannot ignore the efficiencies realized from decades of continuous optimization of transistors.”

  • Has the transistor of 2047 already been invented?

Twenty-five years is a long time, but in the world of semiconductor R&D, it’s not that long. “In this industry, it usually takes about 20 years from [demonstrating a concept] to introduction into manufacturing,” says Samavedam. “It is safe to assume that the transistor or switch architectures of 2047 have already been demonstrated on a lab scale” even if the materials involved won’t be exactly the same. King Liu, who demonstrated the modern FinFET about 25 years ago with colleagues at Berkeley, agrees.

But the idea that the transistor of 2047 is already sitting in a lab somewhere isn’t universally shared. Salahuddin, for one, doesn’t think it’s been invented yet. “But just like the FinFET in the 1990s, it is possible to make a reasonable prediction for the geometric structure” of future transistors, he says.

AMD’s Schultz says you can glimpse this structure in proposed 3D-stacked devices made of 2D semiconductors or carbon-based semiconductors. “Device materials that have not yet been invented could also be in scope in this time frame,” he adds.

  • Will silicon still be the active part of most transistors in 2047?

Experts say that the heart of most devices, the transistor channel region, will still be silicon, or possibly silicon-germanium—which is already making inroads—or germanium. But in 2047 many chips may use semiconductors that are considered exotic today. These could include oxide semiconductors like indium gallium zinc oxide; 2D semiconductors, such as the metal dichalcogenide tungsten disulfide; and one-dimensional semiconductors, such as carbon nanotubes. Or even “others yet to be invented,” says Imec’s Samavedam.

“Transistors will remain the most important computing element”—Sayeef Salahuddin

Silicon-based chips may be integrated in the same package with chips that rely on newer materials, just as processor makers are today integrating chips using different silicon manufacturing technologies into the same package, notes IEEE Fellow Gabriel Loh, a senior fellow at AMD.

Which semiconductor material is at the heart of the device may not even be the central issue in 2047. “The choice of channel material will essentially be dictated by which material is the most compatible with many other materials that form other parts of the device,” says Salahuddin. And we know a lot about integrating materials with silicon.

  • In 2047, where will transistors be common where they are not found today?

Everywhere. No, seriously. Experts really do expect some amount of intelligence and sensing to creep into every aspect of our lives. That means devices will be attached to our bodies and implanted inside them; embedded in all kinds of infrastructure, including roads, walls, and houses; woven into our clothing; stuck to our food; swaying in the breeze in grain fields; watching just about every step in every supply chain; and doing many other things in places nobody has thought of yet.

Transistors will be “everywhere that needs computation, command and control, communications, data collection, storage and analysis, intelligence, sensing and actuation, interaction with humans, or an entrance portal to the virtual and mixed reality world,” sums up Stanford’s Wong.

Original – IEEE Spectrum

Vishay Intertechnology’s New MOSFET and Diode Power Modules in EMIPAK 1B Offer a Complete Solution for On-Board Charging Applications

Vishay Intertechnology, Inc. introduced seven new MOSFET and diode power modules designed specifically for on-board charger applications. Offered in a variety of circuit configurations, the integrated solutions combine high efficiency fast body diode MOSFETs and SiC, FRED Pt®, and MOAT diode technologies in the compact EMIPAK 1B package featuring patented PressFit pin locking technology.

The Vishay Semiconductors devices released today offer all the circuit configurations required for AC/DC, DC/DC, and DC/AC conversion in on-board charging applications — input / output bridges, full-bridge inverters, and power factor correction (PFC) — across a wide range of power ratings. Compliant with the AQG-324 automotive guideline, the modules can be combined to provide a complete solution for electric (EV) and hybrid electric (HEV) vehicles, in addition to e-scooters, agricultural equipment, railways, and more.

Based on a matrix approach, the devices’ EMIPAK package can accommodate a range of custom circuit configurations in the same compact 63 mm by 34 mm by 12 footprint. This enables higher power density than utilizing discrete solutions, while providing the flexibility to use each module in different power stages for industrial and renewable energy applications, including welding, plasma cutting, UPS, solar inverters, and wind turbines.

The devices’ exposed AI2O3 direct bonded copper (DBC) substrate provides improved thermal performance, while their optimized layout helps to minimize stray inductance for better EMI performance. The modules’ PressFit pin locking technology allows for easy PCB mounting and reduces mechanical stress on the substrate, while their baseless structure increases reliability by reducing the number of solder interfaces.

Original – Vishay

Energy-Saving Technology and Carbon Neutrality on High-Speed Railways

Railways are more energy-efficient than other modes of passenger transportation, with CO₂ emissions per ton-kilometer roughly one-seventh those of passenger cars. The difference is more pronounced over long distances, and high-speed railway networks contribute substantially to energy savings in transport infrastructure.

Although high-speed railway networks have long been part of the transport infrastructure of developed countries, developing countries have also moved toward constructing them in recent years. However, countries that have already put high-speed railway networks into practical use and have the corresponding technology are exploring public and private channels for marketing the infrastructure and technology to countries looking to establish networks. The infrastructure and technology must deliver high speeds, low noise, and safety as well as eco-friendly performance through reduced CO₂ emissions now that the focus includes achieving carbon neutrality.

Eco-friendliness and electronics technology of rolling stock

Although railways are eco-friendlier than other modes of transport, they still consume a lot of electricity and fuel. Specifically, the worldwide proliferation of high-speed railway networks has increased CO₂ emissions, hampering efforts to achieving carbon neutrality. Therefore, further energy conservation is needed.

The key to improving the eco-friendliness of railways is energy-saving in drive systems. Three factors will contribute substantially to achieving this: energy-saving in actual drive systems, downsizing and reducing the weight of drive systems, and reducing the weight of rolling stock. Regarding the first two factors, developing converters and inverters with less power loss in drive systems is essential for reducing energy loads in rail transport and cutting CO₂ emissions. This development requires the adoption of high-performance semiconductor devices and low-loss capacitors and inverters.

Drive system power control technology

Of all the components of rolling stock, drive motors require the most power. To save energy in rolling stock, it is necessary to improve the efficiency of drive motors by limiting their electricity consumption. To achieve this, devices known as “inverters” are installed to efficiently control drive motors.

Inverter control

Presently, the power for most rolling stock is supplied via alternating current converted to direct current. The device that converts AC to DC is known as a “converter.” AC motors, air conditioning, lighting, and other equipment requiring AC power are equipped with inverters to convert DC to AC.

Inverters not only convert DC to AC, but can also control frequency and voltage, a capacity known as “inverter control.” Inverter control is widely utilized in air conditioners, microwave ovens, fluorescent lights, and other home electronics. The precision and efficiency of inverter control are major technological determinants of energy consumption in rolling stock, which requires large amounts of power.

Evolution of inverter control

Inverter control has been put to practical use on rolling stock since the 1980s. Originally, inverters worked using a method known as “pulse width modulation,” or PWM, in which output voltage is changed by converting DC voltage to block pulses through switching and varying the pulse width at regular intervals. Thyristors were used in some of the main circuit elements, but later, gate turn-off (GTO) thyristors became mainstream.

The mid-1990s saw the emergence of insulated-gate bipolar transistors (IGBTs), which offer lower losses and higher-frequency switching than GTO thyristors and thus drove increases in efficiency and voltage control. Additionally, intelligent power modules (IPM), which integrate IGBTs with drive and protection circuits, have improved performance, functionality, and reliability, and have been put into practical use as a technology to advance inverters.

Inverter control of drive motors in rolling stock

AC motors for rolling stock—electric motors that provide the driving force for trains—have become practical thanks to advances in power electronics technology, especially inverters. Using inverters results in substantial reductions in overall losses by providing better weight-to-output ratios than DC motors and eliminating losses from resistors employed in conventional rheostatic control. AC motors in use include synchronous motors and induction motors. Of the two, AC induction motors with variable voltage variable frequency (VVVF) inverter control systems are widely used for their excellent durability and user-friendliness. Additionally, with the introduction of IGBT and IPM, which contribute to higher withstand voltages and larger power supply capacities, and the use of three-level inverter systems, AC induction motors are becoming more economical, with less magnetic noise and fewer harmonics that cause electronic equipment to malfunction.

Required performance of electronic components of inverter control circuits

Presently, manufacturers are shifting from silicon (Si) to silicon carbide (SiC) and gallium nitride (GaN) as the materials for the semiconductor devices of inverters to achieve greater withstanding pressure and faster switching speeds. However, as switching speeds increase, the amount of heat generated also increases. Thus, the electronic components of each inverter circuit must also be highly heat-resistant.

Inverters comprise not only semiconductor devices, but also rectifier circuits; commutation circuits to operate thyristors; snubber circuits that suppress parasitic inductance, which causes ringing, and noise caused by surge voltage; and more. Capacitors, resistors, inductors, and other components are used in these circuits.

Low heat resistance of electronic components requires cooling equipment, and the lower the heat resistance of components, the larger and more complex the cooling equipment tends to be. Installing and expanding cooling equipment increases the weight of the rolling stock and causes excess electricity consumption.

Therefore, inverters must comprise heat-resistant electronic components to reduce rolling stock weight and electricity consumption. Inverters must also accommodate circuit board deflection, resist impulse voltage, and otherwise be reliable enough to function normally in demanding operating conditions.

Energy-saving technology and carbon neutrality on high-speed railways

Amid the ongoing construction of high-speed railways around the world, controversy surrounds the immense expense of some, particularly the high-speed rail project linking Los Angeles and San Francisco in the state of California in the United States (scheduled to open in 2033), which is expected to cost roughly 77.3 billion dollars, and the High Speed Two (HS2) project to connect major cities in the UK.

National governments are investing extensively in these projects because of the environmental benefits of rail transport over other modes of transport; the level of investment also illustrates how governments are looking to rail transport as a trump card for achieving carbon neutrality, which is considered to be difficult. The trend also applies to new railway networks in developing countries, where electronics technology will undoubtedly attract more and more attention for its ability to reduce CO₂ emissions through energy conservation.

Original – Murata

Global Chip Industry Projected to Invest More Than $500 Billion in New Factories by 2024

The worldwide semiconductor industry is projected to invest more than $500 billion in 84 volume chipmaking facilities starting construction from 2021 to 2023, with segments including automotive and high-performance computing fueling the spending increases, SEMI announced today in its latest quarterly World Fab Forecast report. The projected growth in global factory count includes a record high 33 new semiconductor manufacturing facilities starting construction this year and 28 more in 2023.

The latest SEMI World Fab Forecast update reflects the increasing strategic importance of semiconductors to countries and a wide array of industries worldwide,” said Ajit Manocha, SEMI president and CEO. “The report underscores the significant impact of government incentives in expanding production capacity and strengthening supply chains. With the bullish long-term outlook for the industry, rising investments in semiconductor manufacturing are critical to laying the groundwork for secular growth driven by a diverse range of emerging applications.” 

The SEMI World Fab Forecast reports data from SEMI’s seven regions:

  • In the Americas, the U.S. Chips and Science Act has vaulted the region into the lead worldwide in new capital spending as the government investment spawns new chipmaking facilities and supporting supplier ecosystems. From 2021 through next year, the Americas is forecast to start construction on 18 new facilities.
  • China is expected to outnumber all other regions in new chip manufacturing facilities, with 20 supporting mature technologies planned.
  • Propelled by the European Chips Act, Europe/Mideast investment in new semiconductor facilities is expected to reach a historic high for the region, with 17 new fabs starting construction between 2021 and 2023.
  • Taiwan is expected to start construction on 14 new facilities, while Japan and Southeast Asia are each projected to begin building six new facilities over the forecast period. Korea is forecast to start construction on three large facilities. 

Original – SEMI

Germany and Europe: Semiconductor Industry to Be Strengthened

The associations VDE and ZVEI are working hard to ensure that Germany and Europe increase their capacities for the production of microelectronics chips, as they stated at the Microelectronics for Future 2022 Summit in Berlin. The EU Chips Act, which the EU Commission presented at the end of 2021, plays a special role here.

“The EU Chips Act is highly significant because the microelectronics industry plays an essential role in Germany and Europe by supplying the user industries downstream in the supply chain,” said ZVEI President Dr. Gunther Kegel. However, Kegel said additional funding must be made available for the EU Chips Act projects. “We can only survive in international competition if we implement important European industrial projects with a high level of commitment,” Kegel emphasized in this context. The goal, he said, must be to substantially expand research, development and production through an active location policy and industrialization support. This also includes interpreting the concept of the EU Chips Act broadly so as not to bypass the needs of Europe’s key industries, he said. “What is necessary is that the Chips Act takes into account all technologies and structural sizes of chips,” Kegel said.

With well over 50 % of Europe’s microelectronics production, Germany plays a leading role and must face up to its responsibilities. VDE President Dr. Armin Schnettler: “The demand for microelectronics will continue to rise due to the megatrends of electrification, digitalization and the energy transition.” Locational disadvantages in the areas of settlement and operating costs, competition law and taxation would have to be eliminated. At the same time, a funding system must be established that makes and implements decisions quickly at regional, national and European level, Schnettler adds: “Europe needs non-discriminatory and crisis-proof access to global microelectronics solutions in order to remain technologically sovereign.”

There is also a special focus on the issue of young talent. The VDE estimates that more than 19,000 new electrical engineers are needed each year. Schnettler points out that instead, the number of first-year students fell by another good four percent last year: “We need to do a better job of communicating to the younger generation that careers in electrical engineering and information technology have a lot to offer. These are not just secure, well-paid jobs with a future. We are actively helping to ensure that this world remains a world worth living in.”

Original – Power&Beyond

onsemi Awards More Than $796k in Grants to 39 Organizations Globally during Fall 2022 Cycle

The ON Semiconductor Foundation, a program of Giving Now at onsemi, is committed to building brighter futures through funding STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) education activities for the students in underserved communities. These efforts will help and inspire young scholars to get excited about STEAM.

Earlier this year, the Tomorrow, today campaign was launched. This includes championing social responsibility, protecting the environment, adhering to responsible business practices, and serving our communities through the investment of resources. As a result, onsemi rebranded its global giving program with a new name, “Giving Now.” This program prioritizes giving at onsemi in three simple ways:

“Through our Giving Now program, onsemi is driving positivity forward by creating meaningful change for our planet and every community that we live and work in around the globe,” said Tyler Lacey, board president for the ON Semiconductor Foundation.

Since 2016, onsemi has funded more than $8.2 million in grants, disaster relief efforts, employee matching and dollars-for-doers for employee volunteerism. The ON Semiconductor Foundation, which was launched in 2019, is overseen by an employee-based board of directors, who manage its daily operations and approve recommendations from grant advisors globally.

Original – onsemi

Gallium Nitride: Powering the Vehicles of the Future

Founded in 2010 and headquartered in Israel, VisIC Technologies was launched with the goal of advancing Gallium Nitride (GaN) technology into mainstream use. After its initial team of GaN pioneers made several ground-breaking developments in device design, the company focused on applying such technologies to the automotive industry.

VisIC’s team steadily grew, and development of robust transistor devices based on GaN technology began. The team arrived at an optimized design of one of the most reliable, high voltage, high current (650V, up to 200A per die) transistors. The unique D3GaN (Direct Drive D-mode) power switch technology for electric vehicles (EVs) is designed to enable use of smaller, lighter, and cheaper batteries and to provide the car with a more extended range.

Overall, the company seeks to make the function of driving better, with a focus on high-performance, noise reduction, affordability, and pollution reduction. To support the affordability of EVs, VisIC Technologies works to keep manufacturing costs as low as possible and make the vehicle’s powertrain more efficient.

VisIC has produced the first GaN-based transistors to be used in automotive traction inverters and is now in the development and evaluation phase with several original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and Tier 1 customers for series production.

In conversation with The Innovation Platform, Dr Tamara Baksht, Co-founder and CEO of VisIC Technologies, discusses the benefits of GaN and explains more about the company’s achievements so far and its future plans.

  • Can you explain the background of VisIC Technologies, your key product offering, and your main goals and objectives?

Using GaN, VisIC Technologies is working to bring to the market high efficiency electronic components, namely power switches, for the energy and transportation sectors. I think it is important to address the evolution of Gallium Nitride (GaN). We have seen this technology transition to be scalable and affordable. Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are a good example of how a new material or technology can transform an entire industry. Today, all white and blue LEDs are made with GaN. GaN gives a blue light and, in order to make white light, you need red, green, and blue (RGB). For years, there had been green and red but blue had been missing, meaning that it was impossible to make true white LEDs. Since the implementation of GaN, the whole lighting industry has changed.

The value of GaN is that for the same level of power as silicon, it provides much higher efficiency or a much smaller form factor. Normally, these three parameters – power level, form factor, and efficiency – are in trade off. However, GaN brings the solution to this trade-off.

When I started this company, most GaN transistors had been mainly developed for communication applications. In terms of industry, electrical energy conversion had been relatively low-tech, and the importance of electrical energy had not been obvious. Today, the fact that electrical energy became the bottleneck of our world has been recognized. A significant part of energy is lost in conversion between voltages. In a world where the scarcity of electricity is becoming ever more apparent, working to improve the overall efficiency of this transfer and conversion is critical.

A Gallium Nitride high electron mobility transistor (HEMT) was successfully used as a power amplifier when the company first began. We therefore knew that significant effort would be required to make it usable for power conversion and to develop good power switches. After several years of focused development effort, the first working prototypes had been successfully tested by industry partners. After analyzing results and exploring the market, we chose to focus our work on the fastest growing segment: electric transportation. It is remarkable that, for the first time in the semiconductor industry, electric vehicle semiconductors impact the core values of a car – manufacturing cost, driving distance, power, and acceleration. In electric cars, semiconductor power switches are responsible for conversion of electrical energy from battery to car motion. The new level of power-size-efficiency trade-off is important because electric cars must have high power and, as space is limited, batteries must also be compact. Efficiency is critical because of the cost of the battery; so, a high efficiency inverter means we can use less battery, making the car cheaper. Moreover, we can use the same battery and have much longer driving distances, offering better value for the customer.

  • What role has innovation played in accelerating your company and GaN technology?

Making our product a mass market technology requires significant innovation as we are facing a combination of challenges.

Firstly, we are a deep-technology semiconductor start-up company, which is a lengthy and capital-intensive process. We then have the added challenge of breaking into the automotive market, which also takes a long time, comes with high liability and is known to be very conservative. However, at the same time, this direction is great for us as it is where there is the highest need for high-efficiency, high-power semiconductors. The process can be counterintuitive, but I think we are succeeding because we have very good access to funds, we have been oversubscribed in the last couple of rounds, and we have got very good results from professionals in our sector with a much lower total investment compared to our competitors.

We are not only innovating with the technology, but it is also essential that we are innovative across the company as a whole and in our organizational structure.

  • What makes your product offering and company different?

Our advantage is that GaN transistors have significantly better efficiency than silicon transistors. Another advantage of GaN against over emerging technologies that are slightly more mature, such as silicon carbide, is the manufacturing cost. GaN is a brownfield manufacturing process, meaning we are reusing standard silicon factories.

I believe that we make the best GaN product for automotive purposes. Whilst other companies produce very good GaN for applications such as chargers and telephone communications, our devoted focus on the automotive sector has resulted in the best offering available.

As a company, we are truly global, and we started to work remotely long before the pandemic. I believe that the right people are more important than their location. To make such a complex product and business possible, we need brilliant people. We therefore hired employees from across the globe, not because we need localization but because we need brilliant minds.

  • What research and development processes are behind your product?

Our product is a very complex combination of a few powerful technologies. To make a good product in this area, you need a solid combination of a good semiconductor, good packaging, and good electronic design. We must find the right balance in all these areas to create the best possible product. To achieve this, we have a dedicated semiconductor department, a power and electronics department, and a packaging department.

Our R&D work is done collaboratively and iteratively with Tier 1 customers, who adapt to the new technology and integrate the new components in their next-generation systems. Changes on their part influence our component.

  • What’s next for VisIC Technologies?

We are currently working to establish a reliable supply chain for the developed product and production is scheduled for the upcoming years. This will be the main direction of our work for the near future.

I am quite confident that, as Gallium Nitride gets more mature and is produced at a higher volume, it will replace most silicon switches in power applications. I am confident that, in 2030, the best electric cars in all categories will have GaN devices inside.

Original – Innovation News Network

STMicroelectronics Boosts EV Performance and Driving Range with New SiC Power Modules

STMicroelectronics, a global semiconductor leader serving customers across the spectrum of electronics applications, has released high-power modules for electric vehicles that boost performance and driving range. ST’s new silicon-carbide (SiC) power modules have been selected for Hyundai’s E-GMP electric-vehicle platform shared by KIA EV6 and several models.

Five new SiC-MOSFET based power modules provide flexible choices for vehicle makers, covering a selection of power ratings and support for operating voltages commonly used in electric vehicle (EV) traction applications. Housed in ST’s ACEPACK DRIVE package optimized for traction applications, the power modules are reliable thanks to sintering technology, robust, and easy for manufacturers to integrate in EV drives. Internally, the main power semiconductors are ST’s third-generation (Gen3) STPOWER SiC MOSFETs, which combine industry-leading figure of merit (RDS(ON) x die area) with very low switching energy and super performance in synchronous rectification.

“ST silicon carbide solutions are enabling major automotive OEMs to set the pace of electrification when developing future generations of EVs,” said Marco Monti, President, Automotive and Discrete Group, STMicroelectronics. “Our third-generation SiC technology ensures the greatest power density and energy efficiency, resulting in superior vehicle performance, range, and charge time.”

a leader in the automotive EV market, Hyundai Motor Company has chosen ST’s ACEPACK DRIVE SiC-MOSFET Gen3 based power modules for its current-generation EV platform, called E-GMP. In particular, the modules will power the Kia EV6. “ST’s SiC-MOSFET based power modules are the right choice for our traction inverters, enabling longer range. The cooperation between our two companies has realized a significant step towards more sustainable electric vehicles, leveraging ST’s continuous technological investment to be the leading semiconductor actor in the electrification revolution,” said Mr. Sang-Cheol Shin, Inverter Engineering Design Team at Hyundai Motor Group.

As an industry leader in this technology, ST has already supplied STPOWER SiC devices for more than three million mass-produced passenger cars worldwide. Compared to conventional silicon power semiconductors, smaller SiC devices can handle higher operating voltages that allow faster charging and superior vehicle dynamics. Energy efficiency is also increased, which boosts driving range, and reliability can be extended. SiC is gaining mass adoption in multiple EV systems such as the DC-DC converter, traction inverter, and on-board chargers (OBC) with bi-directional operation ready for vehicle-to-grid power transfer. ST’s SiC strategy, as an integrated device manufacturer (IDM), ensures quality and security of supply to serve carmakers’ strategies for electrification. With the recently announced fully integrated SiC substrate manufacturing facility in Catania, expected to start production in 2023, ST is moving quickly to support the rapid market transition towards e-mobility.

Original – STMicroelectronics

Semikron Danfoss eMPack® Chosen for Dana’s Silicon-Carbide Inverter Development

The eMPack® platform from Semikron Danfoss is optimized for silicon carbide (SiC) technology, and the fully sintered “Direct Pressed Die“ (DPD) technology, which allows for extremely compact, scalable and reliable inverters, was one of the crucial factors that clinched the deal between Dana and Semikron Danfoss.

“Semikron Danfoss is proud to be selected by Dana to deliver high performance SiC-based eMPack® traction modules for their future inverter platforms. Our modular design, capable of utilizing SiC devices from multiple chip sources, is the ideal module platform for Dana’s broad inverter portfolio”, said Siegbert Haumann, Senior Vice President, Semikron Danfoss Automotive Division.

Targeted for use across the light-vehicle, commercial-vehicle, and off-highway mobility markets, Dana’s silicon-carbide inverter designs will enable higher system efficiency and power density in a compact package for medium- and high-voltage inverter applications, resulting in the potential for increased range.

“This long-term supply agreement with Semikron Danfoss gives us a strong strategic advantage as we expand the use of silicon-carbide technology and support our customers with innovative, efficient, and powerful solutions,” said Christophe Dominiak, chief technology officer, Dana Incorporated.

“This is a strong relationship between Dana and Semikron Danfoss. The eMobility market is accelerating at a staggering pace. Combined with a major technology shift from Silicon to Silicon Carbide it creates an extremely dynamic market environment where close communication and fast decision making is essential. This is best executed in a close cooperation between two strong partners,” said Claus Petersen, CEO of Semikron Danfoss.

The eMobility market will remain one of the fastest growing markets for power semiconductors in the years ahead. According to business intelligence and strategy research company BIS Research, the number of hybrid and electric vehicles will continue to grow by 23% a year until 2029.

Original – Semikron Danfoss

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