Power Efficiency and Reliability
Accelerating the creation of green, clean renewable, efficient and high-power producing components, and devices.
We live in a changing world where the management of limited energy resources has become more critical. Advances in wide bandgap semiconductor technology like Silicon Carbide (SiC) and Gallium Nitride (GaN), particularly in the context of power semiconductor testing and high power semiconductors, are enabling the development of a clean, renewable, and reliable energy ecosystem while creating new challenges for engineers. Engineers count on Tektronix exists to provide the measurement solutions to address today’s electrified ecosystem challenges and those to come.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) - Power Semiconductor for Engineers
What is a power semiconductor device?
A power semiconductor device is a type of semiconductor device that can handle higher voltages and currents and are used in applications which require significant power control and regulation compared to other types of semiconductor devices you might find in a personal computer, cell phone, tablet, or other battery operated or low voltage consumer or low power industrial device like an electric hand tool. Power semiconductor devices are often categorized as devices that have a related current of 1 amp or greater.
What does a power semiconductor device do?
A power semiconductor is a device that controls the flow of electrical power, regulates power, converts power to various levels, and allows for efficient switching used in many electronic systems like electric vehicles, efficient motor control, photovoltaic power conversion systems, industrial automation, electric grid infrastructure, and energy storage.
What are the new semiconductor materials for power devices?
Emerging semiconductor materials, such as wide bandgap Silicon Carbide (SiC) and Gallium Nitride (GaN), are revolutionizing power semiconductor technology. SiC and GaN offer superior properties, including higher breakdown voltage, faster switching speeds, lower conduction losses, and better thermal conductivity. These materials enable the development of more efficient and compact power devices, contributing to advancements in renewable energy, electric vehicles, and other high-power applications.
What is an example of a power semiconductor?
The most common devices are the silicon based Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistor (IGBT), the wide bandgap silicon carbide (SiC) MOSFET, and the wide bandgap gallium nitride (GaN) High Electron Mobility Transistor (HEMT). All three transistor devices are widely used in applications such as motor drives, renewable energy systems, and electric vehicles, where high power handling and voltage control are crucial.
What can damage a power semiconductor?
Traditional silicon power semiconductors can be damaged by various factors, including excessive heat, voltage spikes, overcurrent, and improper handling during installation or operation. It is important to follow proper operating conditions and utilize appropriate protection measures to prevent damage to these devices. Newer wide bandgap SiC and GaN power devices are designed to operate at higher temperatures, faster switching speeds and higher voltages, as high as 6.5kV compared to traditional silicon devices.
What is the advantage of a wide bandgap power semiconductor device?
Wide bandgap power semiconductor devices offer several advantages, including much higher efficiency, faster switching speeds, compact size, and improved thermal management. These features enable better power control, reduced energy loss, and enhanced system performance in various applications, leading to increased energy efficiency and overall reliability.