Silicon carbide (SiC): The view from the PowerUp Expo 2021

Article By : Majeed Ahmad

The SiC semiconductor technology and materials are a prominent feature of the the PowerUP Expo to be held on 7 to 9 December 2021.

Just when the ascent of silicon carbide (SiC) semiconductors is reshaping the power electronics landscape, it’s imperative for power design engineers and managers to thoroughly understand the nitty and gritty of this wide bandgap (WBG) material.

That’s partly the agenda of the PowerUP Expo to be held on 7-9 December 2021. On the first day, the conference will open with a session titled “The next wave of GaN and SiC,” which will explain this new era in power electronics in greater detail. Next, Victor Veliadis, professor of electrical and computer engineering at North Carolina State University, will give a lecture on the fundamentals of SiC technologyVeliadis is also executive director and CTO of PowerAmerica, a research institute in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Figure 1 Wolfspeed, another SiC player based in North Carolina, will present design considerations for selecting semiconductor materials like SiC for high-power applications.

The second day of the Expo is dedicated to WBG semiconductor technologies: SiC and gallium nitride (GaN). At 14:00 Paris time (8:00 EST) on 8 December, Veliadis will make a presentation on the status of SiC power technology. The presentation titled “SiC Power Technology Status and Barriers to Mass Commercialization” will covers issues like the higher than silicon device cost, reliability and ruggedness concerns, defects that degrade device performance, and the need for a trained workforce to skillfully insert SiC into power electronics systems.

Another technical presentation by onsemi, to be held at 18:20 Paris time (12:20 EST), will focus on industrial SiC solutions. CJ Waters, technical marketing engineer at onsemi’s Power Solutions Group, will talk about both discrete SiC devices like MOSFETs and diodes and modules that offer full SiC and hybrid combinations.

Figure 2 A technical presentation from onsemi will highlight the use of SiC semiconductors in different industrial applications.

On 9 December, the Expo program titled “The Future of Energy” is centered around SiC and GaN technologies. The presentation titled “EV Charging with CoolSiC” is scheduled at 18:40 (12:40 EST); it will demonstrate SiC’s role in efficient and power-dense EV chargers. Pradip Chatterjee, application engineer at Infineon Technologies, will dig deeper into bi-directional power conversion and show why SiC devices are ideally suited to implement this function.

Figure 3 Infineon will bring the latest on high-density electric vehicle (EV) chargers and why SiC is becoming the device of choice in these designs.

Besides these SiC-centric sessions, SiC and its WBG cousin GaN are all over the content map of the PowerUp Expo. While the second day of the program is named “Wide Bandgap Semiconductors,” there are a number of presentations, panel discussions, and tutorials on SiC and GaN technologies on the first and third day as well.

For instance, on the opening day, Nexperia’s Sebastian Fahlbusch and Sebastian Klötzer will talk about design considerations for GaN and SiC semiconductors at 16:00 Paris time (10:00 EST). Likewise, most of the sessions on 9 December involve SiC and GaN reference one way or the other. For example, the panel discussion about the future of energy, moderated by Power Electronics News editor-in-chief Maurizio Di Paolo Emilio, is likely to be heavy with SiC and GaN topics.

While the event’s name is PowerUp Expo to embody the larger industry it’s representing, it looks more like an event about the SiC and GaN semiconductors. It’s evident by now that SiC and GaN semiconductors will most likely dominate the power electronics scene in the coming years.

The PowerUp Expo 2021 is a testament to this shift.

This article was originally published on EDN.

Majeed Ahmad, Editor-in-Chief of EDN, has covered the electronics design industry for more than two decades.

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