Ideal Power Inc., a developer of innovative power conversion technologies, reported its semiconductor fabricator successfully tested Bi-Directional Bi-Polar Junction TRANsistor (B-TRAN™) silicon dies and test results validate key characteristics of the semiconductor power switch. The test results can be found in the company’s updated B-TRAN White Paper. The results confirm central B-TRAN™ elements and operational modes are consistent with third party device simulations that predict significant performance and efficiency improvements over conventional power switches such as SCRs, IGBTs and MOSFETs.
B-TRAN™ device is a symmetric double-sided structure that presents opportunities for high current density operation at high efficiency.
“This validation of key characteristics of the B-TRAN™ technology is a significant step forward in demonstrating B-TRAN’s ability to improve energy efficiency across a wide range of products and applications,”
said Dr. Richard Blanchard, B-TRAN™ co-inventor and holder of over 200 patents primarily related to power semiconductors including the widely used trench MOSFET.
“The device has tremendous implications for the power industry.”
“These exciting results of the first tested B-TRAN™ structures validate key characteristics of the device and confirm our belief that B-TRANs can be a disruptive new force in many power conversion applications,” said Bill Alexander, CTO of Ideal Power and co-inventor of the B-TRAN™. “The predicted extremely low forward voltage drop and fast, low loss switching of the B-TRAN™ are each approximately ten times better than conventional switches. B-TRAN’s high current density and native bi-directional capability can lead to very high efficiency power control and conversion at very low cost points. We expect these anticipated efficiency improvements to translate to a substantial cost-performance advantage over current generation power semiconductor devices, which opens a multi-billion dollar market opportunity for the B-TRAN™ and is generating licensing inquiries from power semiconductor companies.”
Ideal Power plans to introduce the B-TRAN™ into the rapidly growing IGBT power semiconductor market, estimated to be close to $5 billion in 2015 according to Point The Gap . The next major milestone for commercializing the B-TRAN™ will be testing a fully-packaged device.
Ideal Power believes its new B-TRAN™ technology can potentially address up to 50% of the power semiconductor market as a replacement for older, less efficient power switch technologies such as IGBTs and MOSFETs, as well as the newer gallium nitride (GaN) and silicon carbide (SiC) devices. Potential addressable markets for B-TRAN-based products include very low loss solid-state DC and AC contactors, electric vehicle drivetrains, variable frequency drives, solar photovoltaic inverters, bi-directional energy storage and microgrid power conversion systems, matrix converters and other power conversion products.
Based on third party simulations and testing to date, the Company expects the B-TRAN to deliver 10 to 200 times the cost-performance of current power semiconductor switches, depending on the switch type and configuration, with cost-performance being defined as the combination of device cost and on-state resistance. For a given cost, the B-TRAN™ is expected to have 10 to 200 times lower on-state resistance, while simultaneously having up to 10 times faster switching than other silicon-based switches.