Tektronix helps VisIC Technologies to drive technology gains in the powertrain of electric cars
The electric vehicle (EV) market is expanding as countries around the world look to reduce their carbon footprint. A key factor driving this growth will be minimizing switching losses in the powertrains of electric vehicles and achieving significant efficiency gains by using smaller batteries that last longer. That’s why VisIC Technologies has pioneered the use of Gallium-Nitride (GaN) power transistors and is using powerful Tektronix equipment to ensure their superior performance.
High-power switching technology developed by VisIC Technologies using Gallium-Nitride (GaN) semiconductor material is expected to play a major role in increasing the take-up of EVs around the globe in the next decade by reducing their running costs and extending driving distances. In order to deliver the most reliable and efficient power conversions for today’s automotive market, VisIC uses Tektronix oscilloscopes to provide accurate and precise measurements.
GaN-based products are said to incur half the manufacturing costs of silicon carbide (SiC) and are easier to produce. Extensive research by VisIC Technologies concluded that the technology was ideally suited to use in power electronics in the automotive industry of the future.
Headquartered in Israel, VisIC Technologies has designed its own Direct Drive D-Mode (D3GaN) technology which allows for the development of smaller, lower cost, more efficient switching systems – 400V, 200-amp switching is achieved in under eight nanoseconds.
VisIC Technologies chose Tektronix oscilloscopes because it needed to be able to test the switching efficiency of its GaN transistors through high amplitude (400V) measurements as well as high-frequency oscillation measurements. Essential to the company was the need to ensure measurements taken were “real” and not influenced or limited by the measuring systems that were used. It was also important to use equipment that could focus and measure accurately without introducing too much noise into the process.
VisIC Technologies was impressed by Tektronix’s TIVP IsoVu™ measurement system because it offered a galvanically isolated (optical isolation) system that made it possible to resolve high bandwidth, high voltage differential signals in the presence of large common mode voltages. IsoVu delivers best-in-class common mode rejection performance across a wide bandwidth and isolation is used to increase the accuracy of differential measurements with rapidly slewing reference voltages while keeping hazardous voltages away from the oscilloscope.
The TIVP is designed for use with Tektronix 4/5/6 Series MSO oscilloscopes running software version 1.28 or higher. VisIC Technologies went with the following products from Tektronix – the MSO54, MSO44 and MSO58 scopes, various probes and a TEK-DPG Deskew pulse generator. VisIC also selected the Keithley 2410, 2400 and 2450 source measurement units (SMUs) as well as a DAQ6510 data acquisition and logging multimeter for the complete test bench setup.
“At the edge of technology”
Roman Volkov, Director of Test and Characterisation, is delighted to be developing unique, advanced solutions and processes that mean the company is always operating “at the edge of technology”.
He says: “We looked at various types of equipment for carrying out characterisation measurements and settled on the Tektronix and Keithley systems for our power lab and R&D purposes, because they gave us the most accurate means of testing the signals we are working with in the application of dynamic measurements. I love Tektronix scopes and Keithley SMUs because of how convenient and fast they are in operation. They give us the flexibility we need to carry out all relevant measurements with accurate and stable results every time.”
Roman adds: “We are leading the way in this extremely important market, and it is essential that we have as many measurement options as possible with the ability to achieve accurate measurements at very high resolutions. When working with GaN technology, measuring isn’t straightforward – for example, we need a minimum of 800MHz to 1GHz optical probes – and we have found that the best equipment on the market for these applications comes from Tektronix. They provide us with the solutions that we need today and in the future.”