Trends and Challenges in the Era of Wide Bandgap Semiconductors for Power Electronics

2024-05-09 16:40:39
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The webinar "Overcoming Design Challenges in the Era of Wide Bandgap Semiconductors" explores trends in power electronics from SiC and GaN to the challenges of implementing these new power solutions.

Current Trends in Power Electronics
The main trend currently sweeping power electronics is the rise of wide bandgap technology. Wide bandgap (WBG) semiconductors, such as silicon carbide (SiC) or gallium nitride (GaN), are currently emerging technologies, but are rapidly becoming more mainstream approaches, especially in industries such as automotive. The current trend is to use wide bandgap materials in electronics across all industries ...... They operate at higher voltages, higher temperatures and have lower switching losses, which improves overall efficiency.

The technological advantage of WBG semiconductors is their ability to reduce energy loss and improve overall device performance, especially in high frequency applications. These materials have a high level of wider forbidden band and conventional materials such as silicon. As a result, it does allow them to operate at higher voltages and higher temperatures and also reduces switching losses and overall losses while improving efficiency. Gallium Nitride and Silicon Carbide are increasingly being used in the industry, particularly in electric vehicles, renewable energy (especially solar/wind), aerospace and industrial machinery.

Size is also a growing trend in the field, with traditional approaches meaning that the core components of power converters end up being somewhat large and bulky. By utilizing SiC and GaN WBG semiconductors, it is possible to reduce the overall footprint of these products while lowering the overall cost.

Challenges with WBG Semiconductors
However, while wide bandgap semiconductors offer significant theoretical advantages, there are myriad challenges that must be overcome before widespread adoption in applications.

These challenges can be categorized into three key areas, which are:
Layout Challenges: Layout parasitic effects are a persistent problem in these devices and are only amplified by the faster switching speeds offered by SiC and GaN approaches. In terms of layout, parasitic components such as parasitic inductors, parasitic capacitors and other parasitic components can have unexpected effects ...... Even a little bit of inductance can lead to voltage spikes, which can create performance issues. Therefore, it is important to design a circuit layout that manages these parasitic effects without affecting the overall performance of the device.

Thermal Challenge: Thermal management is critical to integrating wide bandgap semiconductors into power electronics because the high power density and efficiency of these materials can lead to significant heat generation, requiring new cooling methods. For wide bandgap materials ...... thermal management becomes even more important due to their ability to operate at higher temperatures. Components selection, safety and reliability under specific operating conditions, heat sink solutions, operating condition estimation and interface material selection are all integral to solving the thermal challenges posed by these materials.

EMI Challenge: The high frequency operation of WBG semiconductors means that EMI complexity is an issue that must be addressed to ensure proper function. All of the EMI issues encountered with standard power converters using silicon or even silicon carbide devices are multiplied with the use of GaN, due to the fact that the same PCB inductance or capacitance can become prohibitive at certain signal rates. The current and voltage realized by this method. Another problem is that the EMI generated is internally generated and therefore more difficult to measure and manage.


What's next?
Despite these challenges, the future of the emerging technology of wide bandgap semiconductors remains bright. Looking ahead, the potential of wide bandgap technologies such as SiC and GaN offer great promise, actively working to solve design challenges and laying the foundation for more robust and efficient power electronics across all industries.

For more information, please visit ICHOME.  

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