Powerex is a well-known supplier of Power devices for North America since 1986. They were created through the combination of the power semiconductor division of General Electric and Westinghouse electric corporation. Mitsubishi Electric acquired shares of the company. They made is their main sales partner for North and South America since then.

The 190 employees company proposes custom and standard power modules as well a customer specific assemblies. They are involved in all main markets of the Power Electronics industry.

The acquisition will be effective by January 2018. Mitsubishi Electric envisions to take a stronger position in North America’s automotive market, with the Hybrid and Electric Vehicle trend becoming stronger. They plan to become competitive and cut the strength Infineon has with the recent acquisition of International Rectifier.

Powerex will more than likely keep continue to operate under its name, and benefit from Mitsubishi Electric’s support.


The start-up DiamFab is proposing a solution for Diamond based MOSFETs, using Boron doping to enhance electron mobility. The start-up is a spin-off from a French lab, together with UK and Japan team members.

Deep Depletion concept

They have developed the Deep Depletion concept to realize Diamond-based MOSFETs using single-boron epilayer stacks.

In a MOSFET, the oxide layer with its metal connection (the gate) is deposited on top of the semiconductor material. The voltage applied to the gate will bring and modulate carrier density, thus the channel conductivity. The challenge resides in bringing enough carriers in this region in order to reduce the resistance of this channel. It’s directly linked to the On-Resistance (Ron). It’s also important to bring them quickly, in order to reduce the latence of opening and closing the channel. The current capability of a MOSFET is also related to the mobility of carriers in this channel. The quality of the oxyde becomes important.

DiamFab Deep Depletion MOSFET

The Deep depletion concept is said to overcome the carrier scattering problem. The research team deposited a layer of Aluminum Oxyde (Al2O3) at 380°C on top of oxygen terminated thick diamond epitaxial layer. They incorporated Boron atoms to add holes in the diamond layer (Boron has one less electron than Carbon, doping Carbon with Boron creates free holes in the semiconductor material). The bulk epilayer functioned as a thick conducting hole channel. Applying a voltage to the gate then repels and depletes the hole: the “Deep Depletion” region.


We fabricated a transistor in which the on-state is ensured by the bulk channel conduction through the boron-doped diamond epilayer”

says Julien Pernot, a researcher at the NEEL institute in Grenoble, France.

The start-up DiamFab has been created to produce and commercialize these structures. The following researcher institutes and universities are involved: Université Grenoble Alpes, CNRS Institut NEEL, CNRS G2ELab, Université de Toulouse, University of Cambridge, University of Tsukuba and Institut Universitaire de France.




(Edit-10/10/17: Infineon GaN technology is not cascode based, as stated first.)

FlatPack is the name of Eltek’s power solution for Data Centers. It’s a line of flexible rackable power supplies with a 220VDC to 400VDC input. It converts it to 48VDC for servers. They released yesterday the Flatpack 2 SHE (for Super High Efficiency).

It reaches an efficiency of up to 98.2%, with a claimed power density of 33W/in³. Eltek used CoolGaN technology to reach these performances. These are the GaN Enhancement mode devices from Infineon, ranging from 100 to 600V. This is the first example of a commercial Data Center and Telecom power supply using GaN devices.

No information is given on the price range nor the number of devices and the topology. But Infineon and Eltek propose their cost of energy annual savings estimation (compared with FaltPack 2):

  • For a Base station in Italy (6kW) – Savings are estimated at 576€
  • For an office in UK (250kW) – Savings are estimated at £18.350

Additional information about this power supply (especially the datasheet) is available from Eltek.

Littelfuse is in the news again. The former protection system manufacturer is now more and more in the Power semiconductor manufacturing business. Last week it was about its acquisition of IXYS Corporation. Today, Littelfuse announced the release of their first Silicon Carbide based MOSFET.

LittelFuse Silicon Carbide SiC MOSFET

Courtesy of Littelfuse

This transistor is the first one born from the investments in Monolith Semiconductor (read here and here) that happened all along the last two years. This device is a 1200V and 25A MOSFET with an 80 mΩ On-Resistance. It’s beautifully named LSIC1MO120E0080 and will be available in TO-247-3L. Samples orders can already be placed at Littelfuse sales offices.

As for any other SiC MOSFET, it’s a major performance leap compared with Silicon, especially if it’s to be used for high frequency of switching applications.

Infineon Technologies AG has released the sixth and latest generation of its Silicon Carbide Schottky Diode. The first CoolSiC diodes (CoolSiC being Infineon Silicon Carbide product line name) was released in 2001. It was followed by 2nd generation in 2006, and so on until the 6th generation.

This CoolSiC G6 Diodes have a new layout, a new cell structure and a new metal contact design. Infineon does not provide more information about the design, apart this results in a claimed 17% lower figure of merit (Qc x Vf ).

They are available in 650V and from 4A to 20, in T0-220 real2pin packages.

Source: Infineon Technologies AG

Mitsubishi Electric was present during ICSCRM 2017 (International Conference on Silicon Carbide and Related Materials). They seized the opportunity to present one of their latest developments. In its SiC MOSFET, MELCO (Mitsubishi Electric Corporation) R&D team developed a new structure for the Source. Instead of a single region, there are now two region of different doping to better control the source series resistance. This structure reduces the current flow during short circuits.

MELCO claims that the On-Resistance is reduced by 40% at room temperature and power loss by 20%. These numbers are based on a comparison with conventional SiC MOSFET at 1200V.

Mitsubishi Electric SiC MOSFET source structure

Source: Mitsubishi Electric

This new device design also allows circuit simplification. Designers can now use Si short-circuit protection circuits and apply it to Silicon Carbide devices, without making any modifications. The Silicon Carbide MOSFET is dedicated to Power Modules.

Mitsubishi Electric’s development teams will further refine the new device, aiming to make it available commercially from the year 2020.

Source: Mitsubishi Electric

Yaskawa, the Japanese motor drive and PV inverter manufacturer has added a new servo motor to its catalog. This servo motor, called “Σ-7 F”, is based on Gallium Nitride devices produced by Transphorm. It’s not the first time that Yaskawa announce a power electronics converter using Transphorm GaN transistors. A PV inverter was released in 2015. It was already using Transphorm’s devices.

The Σ-7 F series servo motor are three-phase bridge topology based, using high-voltage Gallium Nitride devices in TO-220 packages. The 100W to 400W servo motor product line will progressively include a GaN option, allowing a reduction in size.

ABB announced that they acquire GE Industrial Solutions today. The acquisition is part of a plan to extend and rationalize the product and services line worldwide and in North America. ABB is betting on improving the margin of GE Industrial Solutions division. They also plan to optimise synergies between the different division.

GE IS is producing circuit breakers, UPS, low voltage systems, medium power switchgear, DC power systems together with Telecom and custom power supplies. About 60% of the division sales are in North America. It is headquarted in Atlanta, Georgia, and has 13 500 employees. ABB keeps going with its acquisition strategy. The plan is to strengthen its position in the US. Previous ABB acquisitions included Baldor or Power-One, among other companies.

Acquisition’s closing is expected H1 2018.

Source: Press Release

Neptune 6, a newly founded company, has entered into an agreement with Infineon to acquire and run their 200mm wafer fab in Newport, Wales.

A brick to a Cardiff Compound Semiconductor Cluster

By the end of September 2017, the former International Rectifier fab that Infineon inherited when acquiring the company, should be transferred. It was part of the plan when Infineon acquired IR, that this site will either be closed or sold. Neptune is a private company founded for the occasion. The negotiation includes a two years supply agreement for Infineon, in order to smooth the transition from fully owned to fully independent.

International rectifier Infineon Wafer fab newport compound semiconductor

Newport Wafer Fab, UK. (c) Infineon

The site will become a key partner in the compound semiconductor cluster in place in this region of the UK, joining and supporting the local involvement of companies such as Airbus, GE or IQE.

A unique case in Europe

European Foundries are rare. Only one actor is still active: X-Fab in France thanks to the acquisition of former Altis Semiconductor fab. Other players have been either acquired, like L-Foundry site in Italy, acquired by the Chinese foundry SMIC, or closed down, like L-Foundry in Rousset, France.

Navitas Semiconductor today announce what they claimed to be the world’s smallest 65 W USB-C charger reference design. The GaN start-up is not new in the charger field. They strongly believe in GaN for small size adapters. AllGaN PowerIC is there integrated GaN+Driver IC released last year. The device is now integrated in this 65 W and 45 cc adapter (51 x 43 x 20.5 mm which is 1.5 W/cc).

The reference design had to be USB-PD (Power Delivery) compliant using USB type C. The NVE028A (that’s the name of the reference design…) is based on an active clamp flyback topology running 3x to 4x faster than typical adapters. This is what helped reduce the size of passive components and filters while keeping efficiency of conversion.

Source: Navitas Semiconductor

Ascatron is now a SiC devices company

Ascatron has announced the availability of Silicon Carbide (SiC) components using its in-house technology. The Swedish company raised founds last year in order to pivot. The business model is evolving from SiC epitaxy material manufacturing to a SiC device making. Their strategy to become an innovative SiC supplier is now on rails.

The spin-out from Acreo research center developed their own 3DSiC® technology in order to reach higher quality and performance, as they claimed. They have a semi-fabless business model, where SiC epitaxy is made in-house, in Sweden, and chip fabrication and packaging is outsourced.

Ascatron Diode SiC devices

Source: Ascatron

Available products

The first samples available are:

  • Diodes:
    • Schottky: 1200V – 15 A & 20 A
    • Schottky: 1700V – 20 A
    • PiN: 10kV – 2A

MOSFET devices are under development and will be available in 2018.

3DSiC® technology, based on Ascatron expertise in advanced SiC epitaxy material, has the potential to lower losses up to 30% compared to conventional solutions, says Ascatron.

Source: Press Release

Littelfuse keep going with its entry in the power semiconductor business. The company, which formerly was mainly involved in protection and passive components, is now about to acquire IXYS Corporation. The deal is estimated at $ 750 million in cash and actions.

This comes after an investment to take a majority stake in Monolith Semi, a leading Silicon Carbide power devices start-up, and the acquisition of a division of ON Semiconductor.

The most important acquisition in Littelfuse’s history:

IXYS Corporation is a pioneer of the power device manufacturer’s landscape. They focus on medium and high voltage components, producing IGBTs, Diodes, Thyristors, but also IGBT and MOSFET drivers, among other components in power, RF, power control and protection.

IXYS Corporation was created in 1983, and grew in different fields through acquisitions worldwide. The IXYS brand is recognized and declined worldwide according to each division and application: IXYS Power, IXYS RF, IXYS UK Westcode…

Littelfuse ixys acquisition strategy alignement applications

Extract from Littelfuse investor presentation.

Conquering the Power Electronics World:

This acquisition will help Littelfuse’s in a growth strategy:

  • Extend its footprint in the power semiconductor manufacturing business
  • Access to manufacturing capacity through IXYS fabs
  • Access to many new customers to propose Littelfuse next generation SiC devices (issue of a previous investment in Monolith Semi)

The final entity will realize annual sales of approximately $ 1,5 billion. Littelfuse can now be considered as a main player in the Power Semiconductor Field.