How2Power Today Explores Power Semiconductor Developments for an Energy Efficient World

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Tech writer Ashok Bindra discusses the latest advances in silicon carbide, gallium nitride, and silicon devices for power electronics applications in a new monthly column sponsored by Cree, Inc. and Efficient Power Conversion Corp.

A new column in the How2Power Today newsletter will explore the latest advances in power semiconductor technology, which promise to drive improvements in numerous power applications ranging from servers to cell phones to solar power systems and beyond. In “Semiconductors in the Efficiency Era,” technology writer Ashok Bindra will discuss the latest power components and technology based on advanced semiconductor materials such as silicon carbide (SiC) and gallium nitride (GaN), as well as the latest benchmark developments in power silicon. This column is being sponsored by two leading developers of advanced power semiconductor technology, Cree, Inc. and Efficient Power Conversion (EPC) Corp.

As society struggles with both the economic and environmental impact of its vast energy demands, the development of new technologies that enable energy conservation or support renewable energy generation becomes increasingly important. Advanced power semiconductors are playing a crucial role in both energy conservation and generation as they help to determine the energy efficiency of countless electronics applications in fields as diverse as computing, communications, transportation, industrial automation, energy generation, and power transmission.

In these various applications, the development of new power semiconductor devices—namely power transistors, rectifiers, and related modules—based on silicon carbide and gallium nitride materials will help product developers establish new benchmarks for energy efficiency in their new product designs. And while the ability to improve energy efficiency is a key benefit of the new power semiconductor devices, it is by no means the only benefit. These devices are also enabling the design of smaller and potentially lower-cost products with better performance in various other aspects of product design. However, to fully exploit the power of new semiconductor devices (which also include evolving silicon components) the power system designers and power electronics engineers who will use these components must be made aware of the latest technological developments as well as all the technical issues surrounding their use in real-world applications.

“With his many years of experience in reporting on electronics technology and his engineering background, Ashok Bindra is particularly qualified to inform power system designers of the latest advances in power semiconductor technology and their implications for both the engineers and their applications,” says David G. Morrison, editor of How2Power.com and the How2Power Today newsletter.

Alex Lidow, CEO and Co-founder of EPC, comments,"Silicon power MOSFETs are near their theoretical performance limits and new technologies are emerging which not only extend the performance of power transistors but enable new applications such as wireless power transfer and envelope tracking. Having this column focused on these advanced power semiconductor technologies will assist power system design engineers in understanding and adopting these exciting, new technologies."

“The power electronics industry is experiencing a revolution in performance and efficiency made possible by advances in silicon carbide device technology,” explains Scott Allen, Cree’s Senior Director of Power Marketing & Applications. “Through this column, power electronics engineers will learn how to use these high voltage devices to increase the efficiency and operating frequency in power converters for alternative energy, UPS, motor drives and electric vehicles.”

Bindra’s first Semiconductors in the Efficiency Era column will appear in the October 2012 issue of How2Power Today, which will broadcast to newsletter subscribers on October 25. To read Semiconductors in the Efficiency Era, go to http://www.how2power.com/newsletters where you can sign up for a free subscription to How2Power Today and where you’ll also find links to previous issues of the newsletter.

About How2Power Today
An extension of the How2Power.com website, How2Power Today is a free monthly e-newsletter that presents innovative design techniques for power conversion, in-depth reporting on power components, and articles on career opportunities in power electronics. The publication offers practical information on power supply design for engineers working on a wide range of applications. To receive your free subscription to How2Power Today, see http://www.how2power.com/newsletters.

About Cree
Cree is leading the LED lighting revolution and making energy-wasting traditional lighting technologies obsolete through the use of energy-efficient, mercury-free LED lighting. Cree is a market-leading innovator of lighting-class LEDs, LED lighting, and semiconductor products for power and radio-frequency (RF) applications. Cree's product families include LED fixtures and bulbs, blue and green LED chips, high-brightness LEDs, lighting-class power LEDs, power-switching devices and RF devices. Cree products are driving improvements in applications such as general illumination, electronic signs and signals, power supplies and solar inverters. For additional product and company information, please refer to http://www.cree.com.

About EPC
Efficient Power Conversion Corporation (EPC) is the leader in enhancement mode Gallium Nitride based power management devices. EPC was the first to introduce enhancement-mode Gallium-Nitride-on-Silicon (eGaN®) FETs as power MOSFET replacements in applications such as point-of-load converters, Power over Ethernet (PoE), server and computer DC-DC converters, LED lighting, cell phones, RF transmission, solar micro-inverters, and class-D audio amplifiers with device performance many times greater than the best silicon power MOSFETs. For additional information on EPC, see http://www.epc-co.com.

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David G. Morrison
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