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Microsemi wins PowerAmerica Contract to Accelerate SiC Adoption


Company to develop 1.7 kV and 3.3 kV SiC MOSFETS and diodes for transport and power generation applications

As part of PowerAmerica's $70 million dollar backing from the US Department of Energy over five years, Microsemi has been awarded a contract to accelerate the commercialisation and adoption of wide band gap semiconductors.

Microsemi's role at PowerAmerica will be specifically focused on supporting the commercialisation of 1.7 kV and 3.3 kV SiC MOSFETs and SiC Schottky diodes as it develops next-generation devices. With key benefits to include higher efficiency, high temperature/voltage operational stability, better power handling and smaller form factors, the 1.7 kV and 3.3 kV devices will expand the number of applications where SiC technology can be used.

Suited for the industrial and aerospace markets, as well as the defence market where US-based suppliers are necessary, target applications for the devices include automotive electrification, railway application (traction), aerospace actuation systems, power generation and distribution, solar inverters, motor drive and electromagnetic railgun.

Leon Gross, vice president and business unit manager for Microsemi's power discretes and modules business unit said:"As one of the limited number of suppliers serving this market, Microsemi looks forward to providing cost-effective state-of-the-art 1.7 kV and 3.3 kV SiC devices with the ability for quick high volume scale up via a 6-inch foundry with short lead times, ultimately leading to faster design cycles for customers."

Working with Power America allows Microsemi to extend its ability to offer the same system integration it provides in aerospace applications with its intelligent power solutions (IPS) such as the power core module (PCM) and hybrid power drive (HPD).

PowerAmerica brings leading wide band gap semiconductor manufacturers, material providers and end-users together with experts from top research universities and government agencies not only to reduce the cost, but also to improve the performance and reliability of wide band gap devices and the systems that incorporate SiC and GaN technologies.

As a new member of the institution, Microsemi has access to as many as 11 university research programs, three federal collaborators and over 10 startups committed to growing wide band gap technology with an emphasis on building technology in the US workforce.

"Microsemi's six decades of experience developing high-reliability semiconductor solutions combined with its continuing commitment to innovate, lead and adapt to a rapidly changing landscape, will help accelerate the adoption of SiC in the power electronics industry," said Victor Veliadis, deputy executive director and chief technology officer of PowerAmerica. "PowerAmerica is proud to join forces with Microsemi to transition its 1.7 kV SiC process to high volume ramp and develop 3.3 kV devices which are critical for traction and high voltage direct current (HVDC) grid applications."

According to market research firm IHS Markit Technology, the SiC power device market is forecast to reach approximately $1.4 billion in 2021, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 38 percent from 2015 to 2021.

Key features of Microsemi's 1.7 kV and 3.3 kV SiC devices will include: highly reliable at 175degC; AEC-Q101 qualified; specific Rds(on) targeted to be less than 7 mΩ.cm2 for the 1.7 kV MOSFETs, the lowest known among available products in the market;avalanche energy rating (UIS) of over 15J/cm2, making the device highly rugged for industrial and automotive applications and the highest known UIS rating for any 1.7 kV SiC MOSFET available today; short circuit withstand time (SCWT) of ~5µs, the longest for devices in the 1.7 kV class today, ensuring safe operation/shut-off under fault conditions.

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