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パワーエレクトロニクス技術の将来:ワイドバンドギャップ

著者:  Bret Zahn  - 10-20-2019 

化石燃料は限りある資源です。使い切ってしまうと世界は前例のないエネルギー危機に直面します。電気が私たちの生活のほぼすべての面で重要性を増しているのは、それが理由です。ほぼすべての人は、自動車、バス、およびトラックが将来電動式になることを知っていますが、同様の進歩が航空機でも起きており最終的に電動式の航空機になると知っている人は、それほど多くありません。

クリーンエネルギーを使用することは、再生可能な方法でエネルギーを生成できるため、多くの利点をもたらします。再生可能エネルギーの生成方法の数と成熟度は増加しており、化石燃料に代わる有効かつ持続可能なエネルギー源となる可能性を確信できるものです。

現在、焦点は2つの領域に移行しています。第一に、持続可能なエネルギー源からより多くの電力を生成すること、第二に、1ワット当たりにより多くの仕事を効果的に行うことにより可能な限りエネルギーを効率的に使用することです。

この電気に関するこの考え方の変化と並行して、ほぼすべての電気/電子機器で使用されている半導体デバイスの材料にも、同様の「大転換」が起きています。長年、シリコンは主要な素材であり、数十年に亘り数十億ドルが改良に投じられ、過去に存在しえなかったデバイスが実現してきました。

しかし、シリコンは限界に近づいていることが徐々に明らかになっており、現在、窒化ガリウム(GaN)や炭化ケイ素(SiC)など、より高性能で最新のワイドバンドギャップ(WBG)材料に取って代わられつつあります。これらの材料は、特に電圧/電流容量、スイッチング速度、および損失の低減の点でシリコンより優れており、電気エネルギーをより効率的に使用できます。また、電力密度がより大きいため、より大きな電力ソリューションが必要となっても、それに合わせてソリューション全体のサイズを拡大する必要はありません。

WBG材料は、多くのアプリケーションで利点をもたらしており、ハイブリッドまたはフル電気駆動系を備えた車両を含む、今日の高出力アプリケーションで特に価値があることが証明されています。また、太陽電池のインバータや風力タービンなどの発電、および産業用モータの駆動などの従来の分野でも使用されつつあります。

WBGが出現したことで、業界は、より堅牢なパッケージの開発を含むダイオードやMOSFETなどの半導体製品の基本的な再設計、さらにデバイスの製造プロセスの全面的な見直しなど、大きな課題に直面しています。しかしながら、WBGは、業界における新しい製品設計の中心になりつつあります。

オン・セミコンダクターは、この技術の先駆者であり、多くの課題を克服してきました。直近では、RDSon(オン抵抗)が最も低いSiC MOSFETを開発し生産しています。また、毎年、製品ノードを拡大し、次世代デバイスへ取り組んで、性能および製品ポートフォリオでトップを維持するよう努めています。オン・セミコンダクターは、お客様へ最高の製品を提供するために、垂直統合が重要であると考えています。

今日の一部メーカーは、製品を迅速に市場に投入するための近道を取っているようです。たとえば、SiC MOSFETで使用するためにIGBTドライバに新たな目的を持たせています。このアプローチは、次善のソリューションかもしれません。というのは、シリコンIGBTおよびSiC MOSFETでは、サブストレートパラメータとスイッチング動作が異なるるからです。このアプローチを使用する場合、WBG SiCデバイスはピーク性能に達せず、この技術へ切り替える利点が大きく損なわれる可能性があります。

オン・セミコンダクターは、高レベルの柔軟性と統合性を備えたSiCゲートドライバを提供しており、市場のあらゆるSiC MOSFET と完全に互換性があります。

ダイオードやMOSFETなどのコンポーネントと同様、WBG技術は、パワーモジュールの分野で大きなプラスの影響を及ぼすでしょう。ハイパワーの(>20kW)アプリケーションにおけるモジュールの利点に関しては十分に文書化されており、電力需要が拡大するにつれ、市場のニーズに応えるためにWBG技術が求められるでしょう。

モジュールは、シリコンベースのデバイスと同様のフォームファクターを維持する可能性は高いですが、内部設計のほぼすべての点において、新しいデバイスの特性を採用するために変更が必要になります。

SiCデバイスのコストは、シリコンデバイスと同様のレベルへ向かっており、当社は、この市場の発展における重要なポイントに到達しつつあります。これまで、オン・セミコンダクターは、これらデバイスの形成期において重要な役割を果たしており、当面は完全な垂直統合により、トップクラスのSiCサプライヤーであり続けることに、継続して注力します。

オン・セミコンダクターのWBGの利点に関してはこちらをご覧くださいSiC MOSFETSiC ダイオード 、およびパワーモジュールの詳細に関しては、各リンク先をご覧ください。

 

Tags:Automotive, MOSFET, Networking and Telecommunications, Industrial, Power Supply
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