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Dow Corning participates in Electronic Component News (ECN) Roundtable Discussions
Eric Peeters, vice president, Dow Corning Electronics, was chosen to
participate in a written roundtable session on the power electronics industry
trends for 2013. The question posed and Eric’s response is highlighted below.
You can also read this response online at ECN Roundtable site.
What trends and technologies have impacted the power electronics industry in
2012 and what does that mean for 2013?
|A:||Eric Peeters: The power electronics
industry will remember 2012 as the year silicon carbide (SiC) technology turned
the corner. With the emergence of high crystal quality 150-mm SiC wafers this
year, the entire power electronics value chain began to undergo a fundamental
step change. But the impact of that will become truly apparent next year as
scale-up to high-volume wafer production begins. Consider for a moment just the
United States where electricity comprises 40 percent of the total energy
consumed. Already, silicon-based power electronics are pushing their physical
limits and, by some estimates, waste over two thirds of the electricity they
transmit or control on the grid alone. Silicon carbide is considerably more
efficient and reliable than conventional silicon, making it well suited for
high-temperature, high-frequency and high-power applications in markets such as
transportation, industrial and energy. Until recently, however, SiC wafer
diameters and crystal defects, such as micropipes, have limited yields and the
use of SiC in high-volume applications. But this year, Dow Corning
demonstrated extremely low-defect SiC wafers that share a comparable 150-mm
diameter with today’s conventional silicon wafers, heralding the potential for
large-area, high-volume manufacturing of SiC substrates. As we bring volume
production of these high-purity SiC wafers online through 2013, it will open
vast opportunities for an entirely new generation of power electronics devices.
The overall impact of SiC-based power electronics could even eventually
manifest as a U.S. domestic energy savings of approximately $400 billion
annually, according to the USA DOE. If we extrapolate that worldwide, the
potential cost savings are staggering.
ECN magazine is a leading publication for electronic OEM design and
development engineers and engineering managers for new products, components and
systems with over 125,000 website visitors a month.
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