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Drivers & SiC MOSFETs Open Gates to Power Switching Paul Golata

(Source: Infineon Technologies)

Isolation: Social, Isaac Newton, and MOSFETs

The business of a writer is lonely. It is an internal battle of the willpower challenged by the blank canvas of the electronic page staring you in the eyes, balanced against the mental strain and qualm of channeling and harnessing an assortment of tangled concepts, thoughts, and ideas into a unified, cohesive whole.

I write in isolation. I do it at home in my office with the doors closed to block out the noise of my wandering golden retriever, Aspen. Somehow, something created in my self-isolation gets published. It goes out into the world. It makes a difference. It gains attention and notice. It is my voice and thoughts amplified out for a technical community to read and digest. My thoughts are amplified and gain power and presence.

As I sit in isolation in my office to write this piece, the world has changed. Now social isolation is the context of the day. We are told to stay at home and avoid a crowd at all costs. Keep a safe distance between others. The world has turned to social isolation.

Mathematician, physicist, astronomer, and author Isaac Newton (1643–1727) made productive use of his time of social isolation (Figure 1).

Sir Isaac Newton

Figure 1: Isaac Newton’s groundbreaking advances in mathematics, physics, and astronomy played a key role in the Scientific Revolution. (Source: Georgios Kollidas/Shutterstock.com)  

When the great bubonic plague of London was going around in 1665, Cambridge University closed its doors. Isaac Newton left the university and returned to his hometown, whiling away his time at Woolsthorpe Manor, in a hamlet about 151km north of London (Figure 2). During this productive time, known as Newton’s Annus Mirabilis (Year of Wonders), he would later reflect on them as some of his most significant periods of thought and ideas. It is during this time working inside his manor that he gave start to ideas related to what was to become calculus, parts of optical theory, and the concept of gravitational attraction.

Woolsthorpe Manor

Figure 2: Woolsthorpe Manor in Woolsthorpe-by-Colsterworth, near Grantham, Lincolnshire, England, is the birthplace, and was the family home, of Sir Isaac Newton. While in isolation at Woolsthorpe Manor, Newton developed theories of optics and gravitational attraction and wrote papers that formed early calculus. (Source: R Martin Seddon/Shutterstock.com) 

Alas, I am not Newton, and I am presently not dreaming up new ways to tackle mathematical problems related to resolving how to handle continuous change.

However, isolation has always been part of how metal-oxide semiconductor field-effect transistor (MOSFET) semiconductors operate. MOSFETs are voltage-controlled devices. In a MOSFET, the Gate (G) electrode is electrically isolated from the Drain (D) and Source (S) terminals. The electrically isolated high impedance path is created by a thin layer of insulating material placed in the semiconductor in the form of metal-oxide. As such, MOSFETs have a very high input impedance. If a MOSFETs high input impedance is over by application of voltage to the Gate, then a low impedance path is made for signals and power to flow between previously isolated circuits. It is because of this that MOSFETs find such ubiquitous deployment as power switches.

Opening the Gates to Powerful Switching

The use of new materials, such as SiC and wide bandgap semiconductors, allows for increased power efficiencies, smaller device sizes, and lighter weight is the next crucial step to an energy-efficient world. Infineon Technologies stands ready to meet this demand of next-generation energy-efficient power devices with a wide choice of products like silicon (Si), silicon carbide (SiC), insulated-gate bipolar transistor (IGBT), and gallium nitride (GaN) devices and is a leading supplier of choice in all segments. Read on to learn about some of the Infineon products designed to support next-generation high-power switching applications.

Infineon Technologies EVAL-1EDC20H12AH-SIC Evaluation Board

Infineon Technologies EVAL-1EDC20H12AH-SIC Evaluation Board features the EiceDRIVER 1EDC20H12AH and CoolSiC MOSFET IMZ120R045M1 (Figure 3). Designers use the board to develop and demonstrate the functionality and key features of the Infineon EiceDRIVER and Infineon CoolSiC MOSFET. Let’s take a further look at Infineon’s gate drivers and CoolSiC MOSFET.

Figure 3: Infineon Technologies EVAL-1EDC20H12AH-SIC Evaluation Board helps designers develop and test the features and capabilities of the EiceDRIVER™ Gate Driver ICs and CoolSiC™ MOSFETs. (Source: Mouser Electronics)

Gate Driver ICs

EiceDRIVER SiC MOSFET Gate Driver ICs are well-suited to drive SiC MOSFETs, especially Infineon’s ultra-fast switching CoolSiC SiC MOSFETs (Figure 4). EiceDRIVER gate drivers provide a wide range of typical output current options, from 0.1A up to 10A. These gate drivers incorporate the most important key features and parameters for SiC driving: Tight propagation delay matching, precise input filters, wide output-side supply range, negative gate voltage capability, active Miller clamp, Desaturation detection circuit function (DESAT) protection, and extended CMTI capability.

Infineon EiceDRIVER Isolated & Non-Isolated Gate Driver IC

Figure 4: The EiceDRIVER™ Isolated & Non-Isolated Gate Driver ICs are based on Infineon’s coreless transformer technology and are well-suited for driving the ultra-fast switching CoolSiC™ SiC MOSFETs. (Source: Mouser Electronics)

CoolSiC SiC Trench MOSFETs

Silicon carbide (SiC) offers a wide bandgap of three electronvolts (eV) and a much higher thermal conductivity compared to silicon (Si). Infineon’s revolutionary CoolSiC MOSFET technology enables radically new product designs. SiC-based MOSFETs are best suited for high breakdown, high-power applications that operate at high frequency (Figure 5). CoolSiC MOSFET products fit well into 1200V target photovoltaic inverters, battery charging, and energy storage. Compared to silicon, the device parameters, such as the RDS(on), change less with temperature. This allows designers to work within tighter margins in their designs, allowing extra performance to be delivered.

Infineon Technologies CoolSiC™ 1200V SiC Trench MOSFETs

Figure 5: Infineon Technologies CoolSiC™ 1200V SiC Trench MOSFETs support higher switching frequencies with reduced heat dissipation in a space-saving package. (Source: Mouser Electronics)

Conclusion

Well, it is that time. Time for me to step out of the isolation of working at my desk. Time for me to exit through the gates of my office doors into the world of my home. Granted, I might not have enlightened you in awe of my knowledge of infinitesimal calculus or refractive optics. Yet, I hope my endeavors were able to open the gates of your mind to considering gate drivers and SiC MOSFETs—with their higher switching capabilities, smaller size, lighter weight, and greater power efficiencies—in your next high-power switching design.



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Paul Golata joined Mouser Electronics in 2011. As a Senior Technology Specialist, Paul contributes to Mouser’s success through driving strategic leadership, tactical execution, and the overall product-line and marketing directions for advanced technology related products. He provides design engineers with the latest information and trends in electrical engineering by delivering unique and valuable technical content that facilitates and enhances Mouser Electronics as the preferred distributor of choice.

Before joining Mouser Electronics, Paul served in various manufacturing, marketing, and sales related roles for Hughes Aircraft Company, Melles Griot, Piper Jaffray, Balzers Optics, JDSU, and Arrow Electronics. He holds a BSEET from the DeVry Institute of Technology (Chicago, IL); an MBA from Pepperdine University (Malibu, CA); an MDiv w/BL from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (Fort Worth, TX); and a PhD from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (Fort Worth, TX).


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