PERIOD OF PERFORMANCE: August 2006 to October 2007
The new Wide Band Gap (WBG) semiconductor materials, principally SiC, offer the necessary materials properties to address higher power performance challenges. Continuous power switches, power diodes, and pulsed power switches fabricated from SiC offer reductions in on-state resistance and switching loss over conventional silicon power devices planned for future ship construction. For a given power rating, these components can operate at a higher duty cycle, leading to a reduction in the size of inductors and transformers in power circuits. SiC power electronics also extends solid state technology by offering higher breakdown voltage levels than current silicon technology, to address voltage levels presently managed by electromechanical switch technology. Use of SiC power conversion on Navy ships is expected to reduce the current conversion equipment size by approximately 60% with weight savings approaching 2.68 tons for each converter implemented with the new technology. The objective of this effort was to carefully assess and evaluate the capabilities of all interested high power package suppliers and make a recommendation for a specific supplier for inclusion in a follow-on three-year effort aimed at developing high power packaging and implementing WBG semiconductors in naval platforms. This effort also included the work required to develop a reliability model for packaged high power SiC devices.
This project was detailed to provide support to the follow-on multi-year cooperative program between DARPA, ONR, and PEO CARRIERS aimed at implementing WBG semiconductors for ships’ High Power Distribution. The benefits of these WBG materials in power conversion include a reduction in the size of the current power conversion equipment by 60% and significant weight reduction for each converter implemented with new technology. The insertion of solid state power conversion technology will increase the power factor and improve the voltage control. The immediate benefit of this effort was the evaluation of all potential suppliers of high power packages for SiC devices and a specific recommendation for Powerex to be included in the multi-year program. It was noted that none of the suppliers possessed all of the required capabilities, and an additional effort is needed to supplement and upgrade their capabilities.
This effort was independent of an insertion target platform. It is expected that the package supplier recommended by this evaluation will be included in the follow-on multi-year effort aimed at implementing WBG semiconductors in naval platforms and afterwards become a supplier of high temperature, high power packages to the DoD community. The reliability models developed will be tested in the multi-year effort.