Microsemi Joins PowerAmerica, Sets Sights on Adoption of Silicon Carbide Technology

Microsemi Corporation has now become the newest member of PowerAmerica institute. The manufacturing institute comprises of public and private representatives from the semiconductor industry, the U.S. Department of Energy, national laboratories and academia and work to accelerate the commercialization and adoption of wide band gap semiconductors.

Microsemi has been awarded a contract as part of PowerAmerica's $70 million dollar backing from the U.S. Department of Energy over five years. It has been allocated for the promotion of adoption of advanced semiconductor components made with Silicon Carbide (SiC) and Gallium Nitride (GaN) into a wide range of products and systems.

Microsemi's role at PowerAmerica will be specifically focused on supporting the commercialization of 1.7 kilovolt (kV) and 3.3 kV SiC MOSFETs and SiC Schottky diodes as it develops next-generation devices. With key benefits to include higher efficiency, high temperature/voltage operational stability, better power handling and smaller form factors, the 1.7 kV and 3.3 kV devices will expand the number of applications where SiC technology can be used.

Ideal for the industrial and aerospace markets, as well as the US defense market where U.S. based suppliers are necessary, target applications for the devices include automotive electrification, railway application (traction), aerospace actuation systems, power generation and distribution, solar inverters, motor drive and electromagnetic rail gun.

Working with Power America will allow Microsemi to extend its ability to offer the same high-level system integration it provides in aerospace applications with its Intelligent Power Solutions (IPS) such as the Power Core Module (PCM) and Hybrid Power Drive (HPD). PowerAmerica brings the world's leading wide band gap semiconductor manufacturers, material providers and end-users together with experts from top research universities and government agencies not only to reduce the cost, but also to improve the performance and reliability of wide band gap devices and the systems that incorporate SiC and GaN technologies.

As a member of the institution, Microsemi will have access to as many as 11 university research programs, three federal collaborators and over 10 startups committed to growing wide band gap technology with an emphasis on building technology in the U.S. workforce.

According to market research firm IHS Markit Technology, the SiC power device market is forecasted to reach approximately $1.4 billion in 2021, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 38% from 2015 to 2021. The firm also describes how the benefits of SiC are influencing the development of new end products. Microsemi is well-positioned with these trends, with its SiC MOSFETs and diodes offering superior dynamic and thermal performance over conventional Silicon power devices, among other advantages.

Key features of Microsemi's 1.7 kV and 3.3 kV SiC devices will include:

  • Highly reliable at 175 Degrees C
  • AEC-Q101 qualified
  • Specific Rds (on) targeted to be less than 7 mohm.cm2 for the 1.7 kV MOSFETs, the lowest known among available products in the market
  • Avalanche energy rating (UIS) of over 15J/cm2, making the device highly rugged for industrial and automotive applications and the highest known UIS rating for any 1.7 kV SiC MOSFET available today
  • Short circuit withstand time (SCWT) of ~5us, the longest for devices in the 1.7 kV class today, ensuring safe operation/shut-off under fault conditions

Microsemi's current portfolio of SiC products offers a number of advantages, including improved system efficiency with 25-50% power output increases for the same physical dimensions, efficiency at higher switching frequencies over Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistors (IGBTs), reduced system size and weight, operating stability over temperature (+175 Degrees C) and significant cooling cost savings.


  • Country: United States
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