Power Electronics
IXYS: Dr. Nathan Zommer

IXYS: Dr. Nathan Zommer

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Dr. Nathan Zommer, IXYS chairman and CEO, founded the company in 1983. During IXYS’ 23-year history, Dr. Zommer has been an advocate of energy-efficient technologies as strategic investment opportunities. Developing technology-driven products to enable improvements in power-conversion efficiency, with lower financial and environmental costs, has been a central theme in Dr. Zommer’s guidance of IXYS.

As the first fabless power semiconductor company, IXYS was conceived with the objective of bringing to the
market robust, high-current Power MOSFETs to facilitate the creation of higher-efficiency, high-frequency pulse-modulated power systems. The availability of reliable high-power MOSFETs was invaluable for manufacturers of power control products, such as motor drives. This formed the basis of IXYS’ unique name, evolving from a name originally reflecting the company’s early focus on “integrated control systems.” The letters “I”, “C” and “S” came together to inspire the name IXYS.

Dr. Zommer’s career exposed him to the key power semiconductor technologies of Power MOSFETs and IGBTs that have been the cornerstone of IXYS growth for much of its history. After receiving his PhD in electrical engineering from Carnegie Mellon University, with a research emphasis in power transistors, Dr. Zommer started his career working with HP Labs in Palo Alto, Calif., commercializing the original D-MOS Power MOSFET developed by the team of Dr. John Moll.

Following his time with HP, Dr. Zommer joined Intersil to develop the Power MOS division. When Intersil was acquired by General Electric in 1981, Dr. Zommer was teamed with Dr. Jayant B. Baliga as part of the GE CRD team in Schenectady, N.Y., pursuing the practical realization of IGBTs. Dr. Zommer designed and fabricated the first IGBT in tandem with Dr. Baliga, culminating with the publication of the first technical paper on the IGBT at the International Electronic Devices Meeting in 1982.

“Today, we are entering a period in which increasing competition for diminishing natural resources is of critical importance to consumers and industry. Shortages of raw materials and increasing energy costs represent a significant challenge to society’s goals of sustainable economic growth and maintenance of ‘quality of life.’ These factors will continue to drive demands for improved performance and efficiency in electrical systems, from power generation and distribution, to manufacturing and transportation. Power semiconductors can play a vital role in reducing energy costs and consumption,” according to Dr. Zommer.

“In addition, the economic and political forces resulting from the globally aging population will continue to drive improvements in health care,” Dr. Zommer continued. “These market forces will continue to push for improvements in the cost and performance of medical devices. Improvements in power semiconductors will be important for reaching the goals of higher performance and lower cost for medical products.”

“At IXYS, we continue to focus on delivering power semiconductors and ICs that serve these markets, enabling improvement in customer product efficiency and reduction of manufacturing and operating costs. We support high-growth applications in alternative and renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power. We continue to pursue opportunities to assist in the adoption and success of electrical-based mass transit systems worldwide. In addition, IXYS will continue to develop and provide powerful, robust solutions for use in the medical industry. IXYS is a key provider of solutions for the medical market, in applications ranging from defibrillators to advanced diagnostic systems.”

Dr. Zommer holds many patents in Power MOSFETs and IGBTs, and continues to drive the success of IXYS Corp. through the development or acquisition of key new technologies for important markets. IXYS first went global in 1989 with the creation of IXYS Germany, adding bipolar and power module products and technologies.

With DEI, Clare, Micronix and MwT in the United States and Westcode in the United Kingdom, IXYS broadly expanded its range of products and technologies. With Clare, IXYS added solid-state relays used in various markets, as well as ICs and optical isolation products serving the telecommunications market. Micronix added mixed-signal ASIC capability, along with strategic new capabilities for serving emerging display markets. Westcode’s portfolio increased the range of voltage and power levels serviced by IXYS. With MwT, IXYS built on its RF product line with amplifiers and MMICs, while expanding its penetration into the wireless telecommunication, medical and Mil/Aero markets.
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