Power Electronics

Leo Lorenz, Pioneering Power Semiconductor Engineer, to Receive 2012 IEEE William E. Newell Power Electronics Award

Leo Lorenz, a researcher who has developed some of the most important innovations in power electronics technology for fast and highly efficient power conversion impacting much of today's consumer and industrial applications, is being honored by IEEE with the 2012 IEEE William E. Newell Power Electronics Award. IEEE is the world's largest technical professional association.

The award, sponsored by the IEEE Power Electronics Society, recognizes Lorenz for contributions to the development of power semiconductor devices and integrated power modules. The award will be presented on 20 September 2012 at the IEEE International Energy Conversion Congress and Exposition in Raleigh, N.C.

Lorenz's trend-setting innovations have positioned him as one of the world's leading experts on power semiconductor technology. Power semiconductor devices use semiconductor materials as switches or rectifiers in solid-state electronics to control and convert electric power. Lorenz spearheaded the movement from conventional power conversion technology to high-frequency and high-power methods by introducing metal-oxide-semiconductor (MOS)-controlled devices such as non-punch-through (NPT) insulated gate bipolar transistors (IGBTs), super junction power MOSFETs and integrated power modules. The technology Lorenz has developed is important to many applications including hybrid vehicles, traction control, variable-speed refrigerators and air conditioners.

Working with Siemens Semiconductor in Munich, Germany, Lorenz developed the first ultrafast switching multi-die direct copper bonded (DCB)-based power MOSFET module in 1986, which serves as the foundation of today's power module technology. He also pioneered the product definition and concept engineering of the first ultrathin wafer NPT IGBT in 1987, also serving as the basis for today's IGBT technology. Lorenz not only developed the basic ideas leading to the new technology but played a key role in applying this advanced device technology in new fields of power electronic system development. His role in educating industry on device performance, thermal management, high-temperature operation and reliability issues was crucial to the successful adoption of the technology.

Another important innovation from Lorenz was his development of the "sandwich technology" (the basis for controlled integrated power systems) for advanced integrated power modules. Lorenz overcame design and production challenges to create a direct-molded DCB package that contained three-phase bridge circuit topology, IGBTs and isolated drive and protection functions. He also introduced the CoolMOS power semiconductor, used primarily for offline power supplies, which some engineers consider as one of the greatest achievements in the power semiconductor industry in the past 20 years.

An IEEE Fellow, Lorenz is also a member of the German Academy of Science (Akademie der Wissenschaften Sector Erfurt, Germany). His honors include a Siemens Innovation Award (1996) and Innovation Award from the German Industry Society (2002). He is one of the key founders of the ECPE (European Center for Power Electronics), a co-founder of the ISPSD (International Symposium on Power Semiconductor Devices & ICs) and CIPS (Conference on Integrated Power Systems) Lorenz received his engineering diploma from the Technical University of Berlin, Germany, and doctorate in engineering from the University of Federal Defence ofMunich, Germany. Lorenz is currently a professor at TU-Ilmenau and president of ECPE. Till 2011 he was a senior principal with Infineon Technologies, Neubiberg, Germany.

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