Silicon carbide (SiC) is quickly becoming the automotive industry’s preferred power technology for electric vehicle (EV) traction drives to counter the driver anxiety, and the latest testimonial comes from module manufacturer Semikron, which has signed a billion-Euro supply contract with a major German carmaker.
The eMPack power modules are based on the STPOWER SiC MOSFETs from STMicroelectronics, and their design is the culmination of a four-year technical collaboration between the two companies. On its part, Semikron has employed a fully-sintered direct pressed die (DPD) assembly process, which enables cost-effective power and voltage scaling.
Figure 1 The eMPack power module is an outcome of a joint design work between ST and Semikron spanning four years. Source: STMicroelectronics
STMicro’s SiC MOSFETs, supplied as bare dice, are central in Semikron’s 750 V and 1,200 V eMPack modules serving 100-kW to 750-kW platforms; the modules support both 400 V and 800 V battery systems. The MOSFETs are built around ST’s third-generation SiC technology and they are available in standard power packages as well as bare dice that are optimal for module designs where high power density is a key requirement.
SiC for 1500 V applications
Another SiC-related design update comes from ST’s European neighbor Infineon Technologies, which has expanded its CoolSiC portfolio of MOSFETs and diodes for 1,500 VDC applications. The next-generation photovoltaic, EV charging, and energy storage systems increasingly demand high-power density. That, in turn, is pushing developers to adopt 1,500 V components to increase the rated power-per-inverter and reduce system costs.
But here comes the catch. Power semiconductors at voltages as high as 1,500 V pose more challenges to the system design; for instance, fast switching at high DC voltage typically requires a multi-level topology. And that leads to a complicated design and a relatively high number of components.
To address this, Infineon’s SiC MOSFETs combine low-switching losses and high-blocking voltage in one device and thus optimally meet the requirements of 1,500 VDC systems. Moreover, the rugged body diodes, which are inherently suitable for hard switching, enable sufficient overvoltage margin.
Figure 2 The new 2 kV CoolSiC technology offers a low drain-source on-resistance RDS(on) value. Source: Infineon
Samples of the 2 kV CoolSiC MOSFETs are available now in EasyPACK 3B and 62-mm modules.
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