Silicon carbide (SiC) and gallium nitride (GaN) are two major wide bandgap (WBG) power semiconductor materials capable of operating at higher voltages, temperatures, and switching frequencies. They offer great potential for enabling higher performance, as well as more compact and energy-efficient power systems. Over the years we have seen WBG devices used successfully in many applications where silicon-based solutions were previously employed. To cite one recent example, full SiC power modules for automotive applications have been announced by Rohm to be used by the Venturi Formula-E team in the fourth season of FIA Formula E.
Members of the power electronic industry realized there is a need for common standards to help WBG suppliers differentiate their solutions. Regulations and standards are important tools to encourage efficiency improvements in power electronics, defining product types and establishing minimum levels of quality and reliability. Standards help companies to invest more strategically in R&D rather than designing everything from scratch. Once common formats are established, companies can offer products based on standards, and focus R&D efforts on developing innovations to differentiate their products.
To that end, the Joint Electron Device Engineering Council (JEDEC) recently announced the formation of a new committee: JC-70 Wide Bandgap Power Electronic Conversion Semiconductors. The new JC-70 committee will initially have two subcommittees: JC-70.1 Subcommittee for GaN Power Electronic Conversion Semiconductor Standards and JC-70.2 Subcommittee for SiC Power Electronic Conversion Semiconductor Standards. The focus areas are on Reliability and Qualification Procedures; Datasheet Elements and Parameters; and Test and Characterization Methods.
The JC-70 is led by interim chairs from Infineon, Texas Instruments, and Wolfspeed, a Cree Company. “To meet the demand of today’s energy and product requirements, this team is helping to create the mature industry infrastructure that customers need to design power supplies,” says Dr. Stephanie Watts Butler, technology innovation architect at Texas Instruments. “The broad academic and industry participation is indicative of the importance of wide bandgap for complying with these requirements.”
“Our consensus is that JEDEC is the logical home for the continuation of these efforts in a public forum, and the team is delighted to invite industry participation in this new JEDEC committee,” adds Dr. Jeff Casady, Wolfspeed’s business development and programs manager. “Creating clear, universal standards is a key step in advancing the adoption of wide bandgap technologies. These new parameters will enable users to design SiC and GaN devices into the systems of tomorrow, thus creating a more energy efficient future."
At the moment, reducing energy consumption is a common goal in the power electronic industry where SiC and GaN materials had begun to thrive. The creation of the J-70 committee is a step forward in driving the adoption of GaN and SiC technologies while also helping wideband gap markets to growth at faster speed.