Texas Instruments, the largest seller of analog semiconductors, announced its latest line of isolated driver ICs delivering increased energy efficiency and reliability to factory equipment, solar inverters and electric cars. To prevent failures in IGBTs and MOSFETs, the isolation ICs integrate current, voltage and temperature sensors to detect electrical shocks and other overcurrent events fast.
The gate drivers—the UCC21710, UCC21732 and UCC21750—protect against power surges in automotive and industrial systems operating up to 1.5 KVRMS. The products, which offer reinforced electrical isolation, are also designed to oversee safe system shutdown when overcurrent events do occur. The high level of integration enables customers to use fewer discrete components, Texas Instruments added.
"System robustness is becoming an increasing challenge in high-voltage motor drive and power delivery applications," Steve Lambouses, general manager of the company’s high-voltage power device division, said in a statement. He added that the isolation and integration of its gate drivers makes it cheaper and easier for customers to design solar inverters and other high voltage systems using IGBTs and MOSFETs.
IGBTs and MOSFETs are power semiconductor devices used to amplify or switch electronic signals in factory equipment, cars and other systems. Inside every device is an isolated gate that acts as their central control terminal. Dedicated drivers from Texas Instruments and other suppliers are used to apply voltage and deliver current to IGBT and MOSFET gates. They accept low-power signals from a separate controller IC.
IGBTs dominate motor drives and other low-frequency systems operating at voltages higher than 250 volts. MOSFETs are generally used in smartphone chargers and other devices needing the opposite: high frequencies and voltages lower than 250 volts. MOSFETs have started moving to higher voltages through the use of silicon carbide—more commonly called SiC—which supports speedier switching and tolerates more heat.
The company's latest isolation ICs feature a small form factor because the electrical isolation is integrated. To increase switching speeds and reduce losses, the peak drive strength of the devices is around ±10 A. The devices are designed to prolong the lifespan of isolation barriers and protect against power surges up to 12.8 kVPK. The products are currently in pre-production, according to Texas Instruments.
For industrial systems that have to operate over a broad temperature range with increased noise protection, Texas Instruments also introduced an optocoupler replacement, the UCC23513, as part of the product line. The 3A gate driver operates over a -40º C to 150º C temperature range to bolster system performance and reliability in industrial motor drives and power supplies. The driver provides 5 KVRMS of reinforced isolation.