IGCTs and IGBTs Highlighted at PCIM Europe

May 21, 2007 by Jeff Shepard

At the PCIM Europe 2007 exhibition and congress in Nuremberg, Germany on Wednesday, May 23, Infineon Technologies AG, CT-Concept Technologie AG and ABB Semiconductors AG all announced semiconductor devices targeted at medium- to high-power applications.

Infineon today introduced a new family of highly integrated intelligent power modules that contain nearly all of the semiconductor components required to drive electronically controlled variable-speed electric motors. The new CiPoS™ (Control Integrated Power System) modules are designed to enable energy-efficient operation of consumer appliances as washing machines and air conditioners, offering efficiencies of up to 94%.

The use of variable-speed motors to reduce the energy consumed by such products as dish and clothes washers, air conditioners and other household appliances is growing in response to regulatory requirements and consumer demand. Concurrently, smart design of drive control electronics to make best use of these motors presents manufacturers with further opportunities for efficiency and savings.

The new CiPoS modules incorporate a three-phase inverter power stage with a SOI (Silicon-On-Insulator) gate driver, boot-strap diodes and capacitors, and auxiliary circuitry in a compact, high-performance, fully isolated package. Based on a combination of Infineon's TrenchStop™ IGBT and EmCon™ (Emitter Controlled) diode technology, they eliminate as many as 23 discrete components compared to a design based on discrete components.

"The CiPoS intelligent power modules are the ideal solution for variable-speed mo-tor applications," said Wolfgang Ademmer, Senior Director and Head of Consumer Power at Infineon Technologies. "They offer high efficiency high density motor drive applications enabling the development of increasingly energy-efficient appliances."

The Scale-2 chipset introduced by Concept Technologie serves as the core platform to implement the next-generation IGBT gate drivers. This driver core includes a power stage capable of delivering up to 5.5A and dc-dc power supply circuitry. This combination also supports the direct driving of auxiliary n-type driver MOSFETs for easy scaling of he gate power and current up to 20W and 20A or more.

The overall component count is reduced by over 60% for a complete plug-and-play dual-channel IGBT driver, compared to Concept’s previous chipset. Some of the key specifications of this new chipset include: less than 100ns delay time, separated turn-on and turn-off gate current paths, up to 750kHz switching frequency, compatibility with multi-level converters, and noise immunity of over 50V/ns.

Also on Wednesday, ABB launched a new generation of high power IGCTs (Integrated Gate-Commutated Thyristors) with substantially increased turn-off capability. The new generation, designated "High Power Technology", is targeted for industrial motor drives and wind power markets in 3-level topologies (3.3 and 4.16 kVRMS lines) and for the 3kVdc lines as choppers, boosters and solid state breakers.

They are capable of switching nearly 50% more current than the current series while still fitting within the same mechanical dimensions of the currently produced devices Initially, two new products will enter production in the 4th quarter of 2007: 5.5 kA/4.5kV and 4.2 kA/6.5kV. These two devices will be followed in 2008 by a third device rated 5 kA/5.5kV.

While the previous-generation IGCTs have a reduced turn-off capability at 0°C, the new generation exhibits increased turn-off at low temperature. Consequently, the new datasheets will show a constant current capability over the usual industrial temperature range of 0 – 125°C. This increased SOA (Safe Operating Area) has been achieved by both a new silicon design (which exploits some of the patented techniques developed for SPT IGBTs) and a completely new gate-driver design.