Technology Advances at Techno Frontier

July 26, 2010 by Jeff Shepard

Last week’s Techno Frontier event in Tokyo included numerous announcements of advances across the range of power electronics. Various companies announced developments in Energy Management/Smart Grid, SiC devices, advanced power ICs, and digital power.

Panasonic Semiconductor Co. was demonstrating a range of devices designed to make development of smart appliances and other residential electronics easier and faster. Targeted specifically at consumer devices used in the so-called "DC House" or "Smart Home", the company was showing an array of power line communications chips (both high-bandwidth and low-bandwidth), human machine interface display drivers optimized for energy management systems and microcontrollers optimized for smart meters.

In the booth next door, Rohm was showing its latest SiC Schottky barrier diodes. Rated for 600V and up to 10A, these SiC devices are specifically targeted at power factor correction application on off-line power supplies. Rated for operation at 150°C, these devices feature a typical forward voltage drop of 1.5V.

On another section of the exhibit floor, a major Japanese semiconductor maker was privately showing its latest developments in application specific standard products for power conversion applications. The 6MHz synchronous buck-boost dc-dc converter IC delivers up to 2A with about 95% efficiency over an input voltage range of 2.3Vdc to 4.8Vdc. These highly-integrated, compact devices are packaged in a 20-pin 0.4mm-ball-pitch, 2.15 x 1.94mm WL-CSP package.

Further down the row, TDK-Lambda was showing prototypes of 1U ac-dc front-end power supplies and advanced PoE dc-dc converters. The 1600W HFE front ends deliver up to 25W/cubic inch, while the 2500W HEF2500 units deliver up to 29WS/cubic inch. Both of these fan-cooled power supplies deliver full output power up to 50°C and can be operated at up to 70°C with derating.

TDK-Lambda’s PAH450H48-53 PoE dc-dc converters provide 424W (8A) of power at 53Vdc from an input of 38-55Vdc. With a typical operating efficiency of 94%, these pcb-style converters measure 61.0 x 12.7 x 57.9 mm.