Underpinning Power Electronics 2012: Devices Theme

Lead Research Organisation: University of Warwick
Department Name: Sch of Engineering

Abstract

This programme is part of the EPSRC project on Underpinning power electronics. It is one of four main research themes supporting the centre (along with integrated components, Converters and Integrated Drives) and focuses on the basic building block of power electronics, namely the semiconductor components. The aim is to enable a step-change in the state of the art. By enabling the development of new technology, gaining deeper theoretical insight into the physics of failure, building predictive reliability models and compact models, this programme will be of direct benefit to the central hub and the other themes as well as supporting and stimulating UK manufacturing industries in the area of power electronics and providing internationally leading research output.

Planned Impact

The beneficiaries of the proposed research include the academic power electronics and power devices communities, and the academic activities in the associated areas of electrical power systems, more-electric transport technologies, materials and manufacturing / fabrication techniques. The research will have direct relevance and benefit to companies in a range of technical service and manufacturing sectors, and these are areas where the UK has significant presence, strength, and capability to exploit new technologies. These include designers and manufacturers of power devices, power module assemblies, passive components, thermal management solutions, and designers and manufacturers of complete converter systems. In addition, the advances in converter performance and functionality that are enabled by the research will be of benefit to system integrators, providing them with the capability to realise new system concepts such as high voltage DC power transmission networks, more effective and efficient power generation from renewable sources, advanced forms of electric vehicle, or electrical systems that reduce the fuel burn of aircraft and ships. Furthermore, the advances in converter topologies, control methods and manufacturing techniques will spill over into the power electronics and motor drives sector more generally, bringing advances in performance and reductions in manufacturing costs. Society more generally will benefit from the continued prosperity of indigenous businesses and will also enjoy sustainability benefits arising from the increased, and more efficient, use of renewable energy sources and the availability and widespread use of low-carbon forms of transport. It is expected that some of these benefits will start to feed into the industrial base within two years of the programme start, with increasing levels of uptake beyond that date.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description A roadmap for power devices is being constructed within the consortium to provide an overview of power electronics, including sections on device fundamentals, semiconductor materials - silicon and it properties and limitations, as well new materials and dielectrics etc, packaging of power devices, and reliability and lifetime of device structures.
Cambridge's work on model parameters adjustment is continuing. Commercially available devices are being simulated to verify and optimise simulation models. 2D and 3D simulations have been performed to adjust simulation models and ensure better matching with measured data. This is being done for both lateral Si devices and GaN devices.
The fabrication of first devices Bulk Si LIGBTs rated at >700V designed and taped-out has been completed. Testing of devices has started with evaluation of device breakdown voltages at 25 oC and it will be conducted over the next few months.
At Bristol, initial modelling work is being carried out for buffer design to enable high voltage Gallium Nitride devices. Initial results on noise measurements on power devices have been obtained. Initial results on time-dependent electroluminescence from power devices have been obtained.
Newcastle is investigating and comparing self-heating effects, 2D TCAD simulations have been performed on JFET structures. The effect of the thermal conductivity, specific heat and thickness of the heat sink material upon the average temperature of device is also being investigated. The group is also liaising with other partners regarding different optical, electrical and thermal characterisation techniques. Different approaches are being evaluated to achieve high quality interface properties.
At Warwick, fabrication of 10 kV 4H-SiC PiN diodes has begun. Optimised fabrication processes have yielded excellent characteristics in 4H-SiC PiN diodes. Devices with novel integrated sidewall / laterally-graded junction termination extension (JTE) are in progress. 4H-SiC MOSFET devices are also being fabricated at Warwick. Work is underway to implement and improve the high temperature gate oxidation processes.
Warwick is also carrying out epitaxial growth of SiC material. A 100µm 4H-SiC layer has been grown. Optical Microscope images of 4H-SiC sample have been taken, but better mapping of samples using a lens with higher magnification is being investigated. The quality of wafers from different suppliers is being analysed to determine the quality vs cost constraint. The techniques e.g. TEM, KOH-etching, PL etc. are being optimised in order to allow a fast turnaround from CVD growth to material analysis.
Reliability characterisation is in progress, and ohmic contact structures that circumvent the use of Al are being investigated. The group has discovered that the use of Al in the metal scheme is responsible for reliability problems including poor adhesion and oxidation at high temperature, and electromigration at high current density.
Exploitation Route This programme focuses on the basic building block of power electronics, namely the semiconductor components. The aim is to enable a step-change in the state of the art. By enabling the development of new technology, gaining deeper theoretical insight into the physics of failure, building predictive reliability models and compact models, this programme will help support and stimulate UK manufacturing industries in the area of power electronics. The beneficiaries of the proposed research include the academic power electronics and power devices communities, and the areas of transport technologies, materials and manufacturing / fabrication techniques.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Electronics,Energy,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Transport

URL http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/sci/eng/research/energyconversion/peater/research/upe/publications
 
Description The work will have direct relevance and benefit to companies in a range of technical service and manufacturing sectors. These include designers and manufacturers of power devices, power module assemblies, passive components, thermal management solutions, and designers and manufacturers of complete converter systems. In addition, the advances in converter performance and functionality that are enabled by the research will be of benefit to system integrators, providing them with the capability to realise new system concepts such as high voltage DC power transmission networks, more effective and efficient power generation from renewable sources, advanced forms of electric vehicle, or electrical systems that reduce the fuel burn of aircraft and ships. Furthermore, the advances in converter topologies, control methods and manufacturing techniques will spill over into the power electronics and motor drives sector more generally, bringing advances in performance and reductions in manufacturing costs. Society more generally will benefit from the continued prosperity of indigenous businesses and will also enjoy sustainability benefits arising from the increased, and more efficient, use of renewable energy sources and the availability and widespread use of low-carbon forms of transport. Recently, we have established a long term collaboration with a UK manufacturer who now has 2 full-time employees based at the university. This will allow the ideas developed in the group to be exploited more effectively.
First Year Of Impact 2016
Sector Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Electronics,Energy,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Transport
Impact Types Societal,Economic

 
Description International Energy Agency, Energy Efficient End-use equipment, 4E, Power Electronic Conversion Technology Annex PECTA
Geographic Reach Europe 
Policy Influence Type Membership of a guideline committee
Impact Overall Goal The overall goal of PECTA includes collecting and analysing information about new wide band gap (WBG) based power electronic devices, coordinating internationally acceptable approaches that promote WBG-based power electronics and developing greater understanding and action amongst governments and policy makers. Specific Goals (a) Collecting and analysing information on new WBG-based power electronics as energy efficient technology (b) Share expertise and pool resources on this energy efficient technology (also including e.g. hosting of open forums and building collaborative networks as well as gathering and ex-change information) (c) Coordinating internationally acceptable government approaches that promote WBG-based power electronics. (d) Developing greater understanding and promote government actions that encourage the use of WBG-based power electronics. (e) Accompanying and supporting international standardization public organizations (specifically IEC).
URL https://edna.iea-4e.org/
 
Description "Preparing for the Grand Challenge" feasibility project
Amount £64,260 (GBP)
Organisation Advanced Propulsion Centre 
Sector Private
Country Unknown
Start 01/2017 
End 03/2017
 
Description Addressing the range anxiety problem: A dual function integrated drivetrain/charger for future EVs
Amount £200,000 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/K035304/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2016 
End 09/2016
 
Description Advanced Transmission and e-drive for high value hybrid drive vehicles
Amount £471,629 (GBP)
Organisation Advanced Propulsion Centre 
Sector Private
Country Unknown
Start 01/2016 
End 12/2020
 
Description EU H2020
Amount £700,000 (GBP)
Organisation European Union 
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start 01/2017 
End 12/2021
 
Description High Current Module and Technologies Optimised for HVDC
Amount £1,016,809 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/L021579/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 02/2014 
End 12/2018
 
Description Prosperity Partneships
Amount £2,647,483 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/R004927/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 05/2017 
End 10/2021
 
Description Ultra-high voltage (>30KV) power devices through superior materials for HVDC transmission
Amount £726,523 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/P017363/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 07/2017 
End 06/2020
 
Description Underpinning Power Electronics switch optimisation Theme
Amount £1,194,288 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/R00448X/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2018 
End 12/2020
 
Description Dynex Semiconductor Ltd 
Organisation Dynex Semiconductor
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Two of Dynex's engineers are being trained in the fabrication of devices using the cleanroom facility at Warwick for a period of 3 months.
Collaborator Contribution Dynex is sponsoring a PhD student at the University of Warwick's power electronics group.
Impact Dynex's engineers will gain expertise and increased knowledge from this experience. This will also advance Dynex and Warwick's long-term collaboration potential.
Start Year 2014
 
Description Joint Laboratory with Chogqing University in Silicon Carbide 
Organisation Chongqing University
Country China 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We are the UK partner in this collaboration, to promote the use of Silicon Carbide Power Electronics in the Distribution and transmission networks. We mainly focus on device design and fabrication. Together we are developing joint research proposals.
Collaborator Contribution Mainly focus on applications and building hardware for the grid.
Impact Sign memorandum of understanding. China-UK Newton funds applied for. Rated top project in China but unfunded in the UK.
Start Year 2015
 
Description Joint Laboratory with Chogqing University in Silicon Carbide 
Organisation University of Warwick
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We are the UK partner in this collaboration, to promote the use of Silicon Carbide Power Electronics in the Distribution and transmission networks. We mainly focus on device design and fabrication. Together we are developing joint research proposals.
Collaborator Contribution Mainly focus on applications and building hardware for the grid.
Impact Sign memorandum of understanding. China-UK Newton funds applied for. Rated top project in China but unfunded in the UK.
Start Year 2015
 
Description Annual conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Power Electronics annual event in July 2016. Held at Nottingham
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Introductory Power Devices training course 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Prof Phil Mawby (University of Warwick and Devices Theme Lead) together with Prof Florin Udrea and Dr Giorgia Longobardi (both University of Cambridge) hosted a free one-day Introductory Power Devices course at the University of Warwick on Friday 5th June 2015. The event was attended by over 60 people keen to learn more about the state-of-the-art of each main type of power device: power MOSFETS, superjunctions, IGBTs, GaN and SiC power electronic devices, their physical properties and performance, as well as their applications, at an introductory level. Industrial representation came from Jaguar Land Rover, Infineon, Cambridge Microelectronics Ltd, Prodrive, and Dynex Semiconductor Ltd. Universities and research centres represented included IMRA Europe, Manchester, Nottingham, Cambridge, Bristol, Newcastle, and Warwick.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015