The advancements in WBG semiconductors are propelling a new wave of operational efficiency in the semiconductor landscape.
FREMONT, CA: With the dominance of silicon-based semiconductors nearing its end, researchers are trying hard to find alternatives to prolong the trend. According to Mouser Electronics, the next step towards an energy-efficient world depends on the use of new materials like wide bandgap (WBG) semiconductors that will allow lighter weight, greater power efficiency, smaller size, and lower overall cost. Along the similar lines, silicon carbide (SiC) and gallium nitride (GaN) has emerged as the key WBG solutions that will counter the slowdown in silicon in the high temperature, high power segments.
With over ten times better switching as well as conduction properties than silicon, WBG materials are being eyed as a natural fit for power electronics, production of devices that are faster, smaller, as well as more efficient, with an ability to deal with much higher temperature and voltage than their counterpart silicon-driven components. Such features coupled with higher reliability and durability places WBG power devices as critical enablers for modern applications such as electric vehicles and renewable energy generation.
WBG power devices also enhance existing applications, especially in efficiency gain. According to a report, replacing semiconductors with GaN or SiC can enhance DC-to-DC conversion efficiency from 85 percent to 95 percent and power AC-to-DC conversion efficiency from 85 percent to 90 percent. WBG is also contributing immensely to power electronics. As power electronics is a fundamental industry that encompasses over almost everything that uses electricity, WBG advancements will directly propel a wide array of electrical advancements.
RF devices are also benefitting from WBG, such as GaN, resulting in smaller devices and systems due to decreased input and output capacitance requirements as well as an increase in operational bandwidth. Further, GaN’s large breakdown field enables higher voltage operation and also relaxes impedance matching.
WBG semiconductors are offering the additional operational capability to the semiconductor world. Thus, the trend is expected to continue for the next few years.