Nichicon, Osaka University and RIKEN collaborated on a project sponsored by Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) using next-generation SiC power devices. This collaboration resulted in the development of power conversion modules capable of stable, high-frequency driving power. This was successfully verified as an accelerator power supply for the large synchrotron radiation facility “SPring-8” X-ray Free Electron Laser (SACLA) at RIKEN, this system requires high precision and stability.
In this project, the gate drive circuit was integrated in the module and SiC power MOSFETs were used to increase the switching frequency of the converter, resulting in the development of a power conversion module that can be applied in V2H systems with power conversion capacities ranging in class from several kW to several dozens of kW, public/industrial power storage systems and advanced medical accelerator equipment power supplies. In addition, miniaturizing capacitors, transformers and other components adjacent to the circuit enabled reduction to two-thirds the size of conventional equipment.
Osaka University and Nichicon collaborated to examine the inductance reduction and optimization of overall circuit due to concerns about increased noise caused by the power transformer module's high-frequency driving power. The power conversion module we developed were installed in the accelerator deflecting electromagnetic power source and the magnetic field stability of the deflecting electromagnet was measured.
Furthermore, the power source was used to excite the deflecting electromagnet in the X-ray free electron laser (XFEL) beam transfer line to verify the effects on laser output. As a result, the collaboration with RIKEN successfully confirmed and verified that performance was comparable to existing Si semiconductor modules and that there was no impact from noise caused by the high-frequency driving power from changes in the laser transmission and profile.
Nichicon expects to promote the application of SiC technology going forward, from advanced medical accelerator power supplies and electric cars, to Vehicle to Home (V2H) systems supplying electric power to ordinary households and public/industrial power storage systems. In addition, Osaka University will lead efforts to encourage and promulgate the practical application of power conversion modules using next-generation semiconductor SiC by incorporating this into the establishment of reliability evaluation methods and other guidelines and standardization activities in Japan and overseas.
In the past several years, there has been a growing demand for energy-saving electronic devices. Other than existing Si semiconductors, the practical application of next-generation semiconductor SiC is expected to enable low loss and high-speed switching with minimal power consumption.
In addition, it can drive higher frequencies than existing semiconductor modules, making it possible to miniaturize components such as inductors, enabling smaller power source products. At the same time the various energy-saving effects are expected to include the elimination of components used as well as energy reduction during product transportation. However, the practical application of high frequency drivers also present challenges, such as increased noise and subsequent impact on stability.
As a result of these and other factors, Nichicon, Osaka University and RIKEN collaborated on this NEDO project using next-generation semiconductor SiC to develop a power conversion module capable of stable and high-frequency driving power. The miniaturization of power source equipment allows for up to two-thirds the size of conventional equipment.
After the installation of a particle accelerator equipment power source for the large synchrotron radiation facility "SPring-8" X-ray free electron laser (XFEL) facility (SACLA), which requires high precision and stability, the collaborators were able to confirm that there was no impact from noise resulting from the high-frequency driving power of the power conversion module.
In addition they were able to successfully verify that it operated comparably to existing Si semiconductor modules. Going forward, Nichicon will promote the application of this technology in products ranging from advanced medical accelerator power supplies and electric cars, to Vehicle to Home (V2H) systems supplying electric power to ordinary households and public/industrial power storage systems.
Furthermore, as SiC semiconductor modules that operate in high heat environments cannot be evaluated using the same methods and standards as existing Si semiconductor modules, the NEDO project is engaged in the establishment of reliability evaluation methods and other guidelines and standardization activities in Japan and overseas.
These activities mainly include the establishment of the WBG Consortium with the participation of major device and machinery manufacturers led by Osaka University, and a cooperative system involving Japanese standardization institutions including the Japan Electronics Packaging and Circuits Association, the Japan Electronics and Information Technology Industries Association and the Japan Fine Ceramics Association.
Incorporating the results of this verification into guidelines and standardization activities is expected to accelerate the practical application and spread of SiC semiconductor modules.