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Products & Applications GaN: First Nexperia HV module is ready for series production

| Author / Editor: Gerd Kucera / Florian Richert

With the launch of the 650-V-FET GAN063-650WSA, Nexperia announces its entry into the GaN power semiconductor market. The high-voltage device achieves industry-leading values.

GAN063-650WSA: the first GaN-HV device from Nexperia for automotive, communication infrastructure and industry.
GAN063-650WSA: the first GaN-HV device from Nexperia for automotive, communication infrastructure and industry.
(Source: Nexperia )

Approximately 95% of all power electronic applications are based on traditional silicon technology. The driving force behind power electronics is the silicon IGBT. As the miniaturization of electronic systems and higher switching frequencies progressed, silicon technology gradually approached physical limits such as power density, power dissipation, Die-Temperature, and On-Resistance.

Wide-bandgap semiconductors such as SiC and GaN provide the much-needed improvements for more efficient power electronic systems across industries. Essential questions about packaging, robustness, reliability, costs, availability or high-voltage strength are generally not yet answered satisfactorily. The research in industry and science is supported by numerous BMBF programs.

New player in gallium nitride technology

Nexperia is known for its discrete bipolar and MOSFET devices as well as analog and logic devices. With the introduction of the GaN device GAN063-650WSA, Nexperia officially announces its entry into the GaN (GaN) FET market. It is a very robust semiconductor with a Gate Source Voltage (VGS) of ±20 V and a temperature range of -55 to 175 °C. The GAN063-650WSA has a correspondingly high efficiency due to its low RDS(on) (down to 60 mΩ) and high switching speeds.

Nexperia is focusing its GaN market entry on segments with high-performance applications. These include electric vehicles, data centers, and telecommunications infrastructure, as well as industrial automation and high-end power supplies. According to Nexperia, the robust and mature GaN-on-Silicon process guarantees proven quality and reliability and is scalable because the wafers can be manufactured in existing production facilities. This component comes on the market in the TO-247 industry standard.

"This is a strategic step for Nexperia in the high voltage sector," says Toni Versluijs, General Manager of the MOS Business Group at Nexperia, "we can now provide the technology for power semiconductors to be used in electric vehicles. Our GaN transistor technology has reached production maturity and is sufficiently scalable to meet the requirements of high volume applications".

Automotive is one of Nexperia's key target markets. The GaN-FET GAN063-650WSA is the first device in a portfolio of GaN devices designed specifically for the automotive, communications infrastructure and industrial markets.

European Silicon IGBT Research versus Wide-Bandgap

Silicon as a material for semiconductors has been established for decades, is cost-effective, robust and reliable, with high dielectric strength and an almost perfect crystal structure for a high concentration and mobility of the charge carriers. Anyone who now believes that the silicon limit has been reached and there is no further progress will always be surprised.

The European co-op project "Power2Power" is researching new power semiconductors in silicon and system architectures with higher energy efficiency. In June 2019, the project was launched, in which 43 technology partners in eight countries will intensively analyze the most urgent problem areas over the next three years and develop solutions. As a first step, this includes a new qualified technology for silicon IGBT above 1700 V, manufactured on 300 mm wafers.

The junction temperature will be specified at 200 °C, enabling a 20% increase in power density. A fifty percent extension of the IGBT service life and a ten percent reduction in losses further formulate the project objective. To achieve the almost equivalent cost situation in comparison to existing performance modules, the focus of research will also be on packaging and established production technology in Europe.

"The future of silicon is bright and manufacturers of silicon carbide power semiconductors have to watch out", according to the TU Chemnitz, which is involved in the work to improve the reliability and robustness of future power electronics in the field of IGBT. These voltage-controlled transistors are essential for power electronics such as motor control, wind turbines and electric vehicles. Several European partners in this field are coordinated by the Fraunhofer Institute ENAS in Chemnitz.

The BMBT also supports the further development of Wide Bandgap, for example within the framework of the BMBF joint research ECSEL at the European level. There, for example, the UltimateGaN program (June 2019 to May 2022) is working on the realization of GaN-based high-voltage devices.

SiCmodul, LaSic, SiCeffizient, SiCnifikant or SiCNV are some of the current BMBF grants for SiC power electronics for automotive and industrial applications. In the BMBF's SiCmodul project, for example, researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Reliability and Micro integration (IZM) and their partners plan to further optimize the SiC power semiconductor on its way to industrial use and to increase the range of electric vehicles.

This article was previously published in German on next-mobility.news.

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