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Technology Now

Introducing Mitsubishi Electric Power Device Technologies and Product Trends

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3: Power Devices in the Future
3-1: Product development

The 6th-generation IGBT chip has an FOM of approximately 1.3-fold that of the previous chip, which translates into a reduction in power loss of approximately 30% when used at the same electrical current density level. The diode chip is also improved by approximately 30% compared to the previous chip. IGBT modules equipped with these chips have the advantage of reduced power loss and suppressed voltage oscillation via diode recovery, thus realizing low electromagnetic interference. Furthermore, using packaging technologies, a standard package for products requiring larger capacities is being developed.

Our aim is to develop next-generation IPM and DIPIPM™ products that lose less power and have minimal electromagnetic interference, yet offer improved power density and the integration of advanced functions that create added-value.

Next, for capacities smaller than DIPIPM™, such as the 1A and 2A levels, we are developing a chip where the circuit block is embedded in silicon, instead of a module. It will be a single-chip inverter where a single semiconductor chip comprises the entire inverter circuit. This single-chip structure will include an IGBT capable of driving a 3-phase inverter, protective circuits, gate drive functions and control functions. Our first target, a 500V/1A-class product, has just finished the development stage, and we are now ready to supply samples.

Single-chip Inverters

3-2: Power device development

A variety of technological improvements have been made in our power devices which have made it possible to improve the control of power density. When inverters were equipped with bipolar transistors, the power density was 0.1W/cc; that is, a product volume of 1cc could control a power density of 0.1W. IGBT chip development has increased this by a full decimal place to 1W/cc. Presently the 5th-generation chip has progressed to the point of being able to control several W/cc. We believe the continued pursuit of lower power loss and technological innovation will allow this trend to continue.

Power Density Enhancement

Silicon carbide (SiC), a new semiconductor material which is expected to replace silicon, is still extremely expensive, and from the perspective of cost performance, it will only be used for special applications at first. However, its ability to operate at several hundred degrees Celsius opens up possibilities for use in devices and fields where silicon cannot be applied.

These innovations surely set the stage for the further development of power devices in the future.

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