Will III-V Power Devices Happen?

In a previous blog post, I provided a review of the overall power device market and trends driving changes in device evolution that entail materials innovation. For the industry to make such a shift, the advantages over mature, low-cost silicon technologies must be compelling and something the industry absolutely has to implement. Now I’d like to focus on new materials offering competitive be... » read more

Ray Zinn Reflects On 37 Years As CEO Of Micrel

Believed to be the longest serving CEO of any company to have existed in Silicon Valley, Ray Zinn does more in retirement than many people would accomplish as full time employees. While his name may not be at the top of most influential people in the valley, the industry may not be the same today had it not been for his contributions. Semiconductor Engineering spoke with him about his past, the... » read more

How To More Accurately Predict The Field Reliability Of Automotive Power Electronics

If your company makes planes, trains, automobiles, medical devices, computers, and communication systems, or you are a large electronic device supplier, the reliability of your products in the field is crucial to your business success. The growing market for electric and hybrid vehicles is increasing the pressure on life-time performance of the devices that power them. Estimating the actual fie... » read more

Predictions For 2016: Semiconductors, Manufacturing And Design

Seventeen companies sent in their predictions for this year with some of them sending predictions from several people. This is in addition to the CEO predictions that were recently published. That is a fine crop of views for the coming year, especially since they know that they will be held accountable for their views and this year, just like the last, they will have to answer for them. We beli... » read more

5 Technologies To Watch

The industry is developing a dizzying array of new technologies. In fact, there are more new and innovative technologies than ever before. And the list is countless. At least from my vantage point, I have come up with my own list of the top five technologies to watch in 2015 and beyond. They are listed in alphabetical order. (See below). Obviously, there are more than just five technologi... » read more

What Happened To GaN And SiC?

About five years ago, some chipmakers claimed that traditional silicon-based power MOSFETs had hit the wall, prompting the need for a new power transistor technology. At the time, some thought that two wide-bandgap technologies—gallium nitride (GaN) on silicon and silicon carbide (SiC) MOSFETs—would displace the ubiquitous power MOSFET. In addition, GaN and SiC were supposed to pose a t... » read more

Searching For The Next Power Transistor

For decades, the industry has relied on various power semiconductors to control and convert electrical power in an efficient manner. Power semis are ubiquitous, as they are found in adapters, appliances, cars, elevators, switching power supplies, power grids and other systems. But today’s silicon-based power semiconductor transistor technologies, such as IGBTs, MOSFETs and thyristors, are ... » read more

All Aboard The Silicon Carbide Train…Literally

There were numerous announcements regarding power semiconductors at Techno-Frontier 2014, which was held last month in Tokyo. This year, one of the big stories was power semiconductors—for power and batteries, motors, and thermal designs—and the debate around cost is becoming much more frequent for silicon carbide. One feature article last month on the Kyoto economy in Nihon Keizai Shimb... » read more

Moving To Wide Bandgap Chips

The search for new materials to replace CMOS has been in full swing for decades, but in spite of successes in limited niche markets, bulk CMOS remains king. That’s beginning to change, however, as CMOS runs out of steam at advanced process nodes and as the priorities of chipmakers change from pure performance to energy efficiency. And for such applications as automotive electronics for hyb... » read more