Incorporating SiC inverters and converters for power conversion in industrial equipment provides a number of advantages over typical silicon-based IGBT modules such as switching loss reduction by 85%, approximately 50% less volume compared to conventional 400A-class Si IGBT modules and less heat generation due to lower power loss, reducing the size and complexity of cooling countermeasures – finally contributing to greater end-product miniaturization. These new modules are also expected to make major strides towards addressing global environmental issues, including greenhouse emissions and resource shortages.
SiC technology is anticipated to have a significant impact in the power electronics sector (e.g. industrial equipment, solar cells, electric cars, and trains) due to its superior material properties (i.e. smaller power conversion loss) compared with silicon (Si). To date, a large amount of power is lost from generation to consumption during power conversion in the grid and transmission to the applications. In response to this, ROHM has been working continuously for a number of years on developing SiC products and in 2010 was the first supplier in the world to successfully mass produce SiC MOSFETs.
Development of ‘full SiC’ modules for use in power devices has been impossible up to now due to unstable reliability at high temperatures. ROHM was able to overcome this by developing unique screening methods and defect suppression technology that guarantees reliability, as well as a control system that prevents characteristics deterioration at high temperatures (up to 1700°C), making it possible to establish the industry’s first mass production system for SiC power modules.