Power Electronics
September 2003 Archives of Breaking News

September 2003 Archives of Breaking News


By Ashok Bindra, Editor, PETech

Revamped TrenchFET Sets Record in On-Resistance

Vishay Siliconix, a subsidiary of Vishay Intertechnology, has revamped its W-gated TrenchFET process to realize new generation of power MOSFETs with potential to set new records in on-resistance and figure-of-merit (FOM) performance. Labeled TrenchFET Gen II, this next-generation high-density process promises to produce n-channel power MOSFET devices that achieve 3mΩ on-resistance and gate charge Qg of 45nC in SO-8 package footprint.

Siliconix’s new 300-million-cells-per-square-inch Gen II process offers a specific on-resistance of 12mΩ/mm2, a 30% improvement over previous-generation silicon. According to the manufacturer, the new TrenchFET Gen II will enable the company to build power MOSFETs that will break the 4mΩ barrier in the SO-8 footprint. In addition to its higher cell density, TrenchFET Gen II uses a new stripe topology that reduces mask count by 28%, optimizing turnaround and reducing costs.

The first products built on the new technology are the 30V n-channel MOSFETs. While Si4320DY will come in LITTLE FOOT SO-8, Si7356DP will be offered in PowerPAK SO-8. Both are designed to serve as high-performing, cost-effective solutions for low-side operation in synchronous buck dc-dc converters used in notebook computers, and for secondary synchronous rectification in fixed telecom applications. Their record-breaking on-resistance specifications are 4mΩ at 4.5V and 3mΩ at 10V. A high threshold voltage and low Qgd/Qgs ratio of 0.8 offer substantial shoot-through protection and add to efficiency by providing a good margin for noise and voltage spikes.

Designed for higher efficiency in power supply circuits, these MOSFETs will further cut power consumption to extend battery life in end systems. A typical application circuit test on a dual-phase evaluation board demonstrates a gain of nearly 1% in efficiency and a reduction of device temperature by 7°C.

Samples and production quantities of the Si4320DY and Si7356DP are available now with lead times of four to six weeks for larger orders. Pricing in 100,000-piece quantities starts at $0.58.

For more information, visit www.vishay.com.


Edited by PETech Staff

The 23rd International Power Sources Symposium

The 23rd International Power Sources Symposium will be held for the very first time in Amsterdam, The Netherlands from Sept. 22–24, 2003.

While giving coverage to the research and development of all types of non-mechanical power sources, a major theme of the 2003 Symposium will be focused on power supplies and the environment.

There will also be an exhibition that will include many leading companies in battery manufacturing and associated services. Both the Symposium and the Exhibition will be held in the luxury Renaissance Amsterdam Hotel in the heart of Amsterdam, an internationally renowned city known for hosting many major international events.

For more information, visit www.ipss.org.uk.


Edited by PETech Staff

USB Output Adapters

Recent developments in the PSA-05R Series adapters from Phihong provide new custom solutions for portable electronics OEMs. The adapter’s USB socket allows the data cable to charge a portable device. The adapter maintains its international advantages, namely, universal input and interchangeable clip adapter plugs that enable the power supply to be connected to virtually any power outlet in the world.

Phihong’s USB adapters simplify product globalization for OEMs by meeting the European Code of Conduct for no load consumption (<0.3W) and provide interchangeable power plugs to give end-users custom power solutions for their portable electronics.

The double-insulated adapter is safety approved to UL1950 and meets CE (LVD and EMC) requirements as well as TUV and cUL requirements. The unit meets FCC class B and EN55022B conducted noise limits, and leakage current is less than 250µA. In addition, it measures just 2.8 in. × 1.8 in. × 1.4 in.

For more information, visit www.phihong.com.tw.


Edited by PETech Staff

Taiwan Celebrates "The Year of the Notebook"

When Apple founder Steve Jobs proclaimed that 2003 was “The Year of the Notebook,” he proved to be right on many counts.

Jobs was referring to Apple’s product mix in which sales of notebooks now make up some 50% of total sales, replacing the traditional desktop PC. According to DisplaySearch, global notebook PC shipments will increase 20% in the third quarter of 2003.

In fact, DisplaySearch predicts that the period between third-quarter 2003 and fourth-quarter 2004 will experience higher growth rates than the preceding 10 quarters, with increases averaging 20% to 25%.

This replacement trend is boosting Taiwan manufacturers, who will make 76.9% of the world’s notebooks in 2003, up from just 34.4% in 1997.

Taiwan’s top notebook PC makers in 2003 will continue to be Quanta, who will make an astonishing 25% of the world’s notebooks, and Compal with some 16% of all notebooks. Other major Taiwan makers include Inventec, Wistron, and ASUSTeK.

What is driving this newfound growth in notebooks? According to DisplaySearch, the 10 key drivers are:

  • Powerful video graphics controllers manufactured by NVIDIA and ATI.
  • More wireless convenience. Proliferation of so-called “hotspots” through airports, cafes, etc. that allow true mobility.
  • Desktop replacement. Notebook vs. desktop PC
  • New CPU introduction and promotion—Intel Centrino, AMD, and Transmeta promoting wireless access.
  • Power consumption reduction, meaning longer battery life.
  • Better thermal solutions to solve overheating problems common in earlier models.
  • A one-computer policy at major corporations, rather than one desktop and one notebook.
  • More attractive form factors—slim, lightweight, and wide aspect viewing widen the appeal for users in all segments.
  • Asia market growth potential, not just U.S./European growth.
  • Prevailing Standard Panel Working Group (SPWG) Mechanical and Electrical Display standard means panels are becoming standardized.

Aggressive promotion of low-priced consumer notebook PCs by leading brand-name vendors drove Taiwan notebook PC shipments to a record-high 5.6 million units for year-on-year growth of 22.5% in the second quarter of 2003, according to Taiwan’s Market Intelligence Center (MIC).

In terms of display sizes, models bundling 15-in. panels comprised 51% of total shipments, with 14-in. displays making up 39% of Taiwan notebook PC shipments.

Shipment value, fuelled by strong volume growth accompanied with gentle price declines, increased 6.2% year-on-year to a new high of $3.6 billion.

For more information, visit www.taiwantrade.com.tw.


Edited by PETech Staff

Customer Qualification of 6-in. Wafer Manufacturing Capacity

RF Micro Devices Inc. has successfully completed its first major customer qualification of its 6-in. wafer manufacturing capabilities. RFMD is converting from 4-in. to 6-in. wafer manufacturing capacity at its gallium arsenide heterojunction bipolar transistor (GaAs HBT) fabrication facility located in Greensboro, N.C.

Curt Barratt, division vice president of wafer fab operations of RF Micro Devices, said, “The migration to 6-in. manufacturing represents the realization of a major initiative launched by RF Micro Devices to reduce manufacturing costs. Notably, the conversion to 6-in. wafers will more than double the number of die per wafer without a significant increase in processing cost per wafer. Just as increased diameter wafers have been shown to reduce costs in the silicon industry, our GaAs manufacturing will benefit from the lower production costs available from 6-in. GaAs wafers. We are pleased to have brought up this additional, lower-cost capacity, which we anticipate will be necessary in the future for us to meet increasing customer demand.”

Barratt continued, “As the demand for modules increases and as module products become more highly integrated, we expect that the percentage of our products' bill of materials (BOM) represented by our GaAs HBT process technology will continue to grow. By reducing the costs of our GaAs HBT process technology, we expect to favorably impact gross profit margins across multiple, high-running GaAs HBT-based products.”

For more information, visit www.rfmd.com.


Edited by PETech Staff

Thin Film Power Resistor

Intended for power supplies and high-power circuits in amplifiers where increased power loads require a more specialized resistor, Vishay Intertechnology Inc.’s new PWA and PWB resistor chips provide an excellent combination of power and size, with available ratings of 500mW and 1W, respectively, in dimensions of just 0.030 in. × 0.045 in. and 0.07 in. × 0.07 in.

In addition to good power-handling capacity, the resistor chips feature two large bonding pads that allow for greater design flexibility in compact hybrid circuits—and smaller end products—while providing room for Kelvin connections in low-value precision applications.

PWA resistor chips are rated for 0.5W and are available in a resistance range of 0.3Ω to 1MΩ. The PWB resistor chips have a power rating of 1W and are available in a resistance range of 0.3Ω to 20kΩ.

Both series feature an oxidized silicon substrate for good power dissipation, a self-passivating tantalum-nitride resistor material, and an operating temperature range of -55°C to +125°C. Wire-bondable aluminum or gold pads are available.

A gold backing option is recommended for eutectic die attachment to allow for some rise in the substrate temperature while maintaining optimum long-term resistance stability.

For more information, visit www.vishay.com.


Edited by PETech Staff

Cost Reductions to Hasten Fuel Cell Commercialization

The commercial viability of the fuel cell is heavily dependant on cost reductions that assume greater significance as worldwide concern for rapidly depleting non-renewable fossil fuels increases.

Fuel cell costs are augmented by a few factors. These systems use expensive heat-resistant materials that enable smooth functioning in very high temperatures, and they rely on precious metals such as platinum as catalysts. Moreover, conversion of available fuels to hydrogen requires expensive reformers.

"At present, it is far less expensive to use power from the grid and other traditional sources," says Technical Insights analyst Jayanthi Kamalaratnam. "Nontraditional fueling infrastructures are needed, which translate into high costs."

All fuel cells are either powered by fuels that are converted to hydrogen, or they’re powered by hydrogen itself. This appears to be an advantage, because hydrogen is an abundant element with the potential to replace fossil fuels as an energy source. Still, this element has its drawbacks. It’s expensive and currently requires high costs for storage and delivery. The infrastructure required to launch a full-scale hydrogen economy does not currently exist, and establishing a hydrogen fueling network further increases the expense of fuel cell systems.

Hydrogen is usually stored under high pressure, is relatively heavy, and doesn’t lend itself to convenient refueling. Storage in liquid form requires high energy to ensure safety. As the storage tanks are relatively large, liquid hydrogen isn’t suitable for use in automobiles. In transportation systems, converting nonhydrogen fuels, such as natural gas and ethanol, to hydrogen adds bulk and expense.

"Hydrogen storage still remains a significant challenge as the fuel has a very low energy density at normal ambient conditions, making its storage difficult in any mobile storage vessel," says Kamalaratnam. "Researchers are investigating metal hydrides and carbon nanotubes as possible solutions."

The success of fuel cells will depend on proactive consumer education and creation of awareness, as these power-producing systems are mostly used in consumer-oriented applications such as transportation systems and stationary residential and portable devices.

Consumers need to be convinced that fuel cells are capable of providing environment-friendly electricity and are highly efficient and reliable in the long term. Assurances on proper infrastructure, and having qualified, skilled personnel to provide maintenance services are likely to boost market acceptance. Reducing cost remains the key commercial and technological challenge.

New analysis by Technical Insights, a business unit of Frost & Sullivan, “Advances in Fuel Cell Technologies” details the technological breakthroughs, which will likely make an indelible mark on the future energy sector. The analysis also provides invaluable information on major market participants, technology developers, key patents, and various restraints in the commercialization of fuel cells.

Technical Insights will hold a conference call at 3 p.m. (EDT)/12 p.m. (PDT) on Sept. 4, 2003, to provide a summary and analysis of the latest developments in fuel cells. Those interested in participating in the call should e-mail Julia Paulson at [email protected] with the following information for registration: full name, company name, title, contact telephone number, contact fax number, and e-mail address. Upon receipt of the above information, a confirmation/pass code for the live briefing will be e-mailed to you.

For more information, visit www.Technical-Insights.frost.com.


Edited by PETech Staff

20W DC-DC Converter

The B2000RW series from MicroPower Direct provides 20W of output power in a compact 1-in. × 2-in. case. The B2000RW offers a unique combination of high power density, high performance features, wide model selection, and economic cost; making it an ideal choice for critical power distribution applications. High performance features include a wide 2-to-1 input voltage range, efficiency as high as 89%, and high power density.

Eighteen models operate from wide 2-to-1 input ranges of 9Vdc to 18Vdc, 18Vdc to 36Vdc, or 36Vdc to 75Vdc; providing tightly regulated single and dual outputs of 3.3, 5, 12, 15, ±12, or ±15Vdc. Standard features include an input/output isolation of 1500Vdc, internal filtering that meets EN55022 class "A", and efficiency as high as 89%. The MTBF (per MIL HDBK 217F) of the B2000RW series is greater than 800kWh.

The B2000RW family is packaged in a compact, 2-in. x 1-in. x 0.40–in. shielded metal case. The pin-out is industry standard. Each model is specified for operation over the wide operating industrial temperature range of -40°C to +50°C with no derating or heat sinking required (to 80°C with air flow).

The B2000RW series is ideal for a variety of board level power applications requiring low cost, high power density, and the design flexibility of high performance features. Applications include telecommunications systems; remote process control and data logging equipment; medical equipment and instrumentation; data processing equipment; and board level power distribution subsystems.

For more information, visit www.micropowerdirect.com.


Edited by PETech Staff

Surface-Mount Schottky Diode

International Rectifier’s IR140CSP FlipKY™ device, the smallest Schottky diode in the industry, uses standard ball-grid array (BGA) technology, and occupies a total area of 2.25 mm 2, or 86% smaller than the standard SMA package, and as much as 32% smaller than similar competing leadless devices. The 1A, 40V Schottky diode is a 4-ball, 1.5 mm × 1.5 mm device with a profile of less than 0.8 mm. The FlipKY revolutionizes the low power Schottky diode market by eliminating the lead frame and epoxy traditionally used in other devices.

The FlipKY is ideal for handheld, portable equipment such as cell phones, PDAs, notebook computers, handheld computers, MP3 players, and hard disk drives.

BGA technology enables size reduction and better heat transfer away from the die junction to the circuit board. Moreover, since this device is made with true chip scale packaging, it dissipates heat directly from the die into the air, increasing thermal efficiency. In fact, thermal resistance junction-to-ambient is rated at 75°C/W maximum and thermal resistance junction-to-PCB is typically 55°C/W.

For more information, visit www.irf.com.


Edited by PETech Staff

Telecom Power IC

Intersil Corp’s ISL6721 single-ended current-mode PWM controller is designed to regulate power in telecom, datacom, and Power over Ethernet (802.3af) systems. It also has numerous applications in industrial power supplies.

The ISL6271 is ideal for both 48V datacom and 36V to 72V telecom applications. It’s designed for a wide range of dc-dc conversion topologies, including flyback, forward, and boost configurations. Peak current-mode control effectively handles power transients and provides inherent over-current protection. Other features include a low-power mode wherein the supply current drops to less than 200uA during overvoltage and overcurrent shutdown faults. The advanced BiCMOS design features low operating current, adjustable operating frequency up to 1 MHz, adjustable soft-start, and a bidirectional SYNC signal that allows the oscillator to be locked to an external clock or other controller ICs for noise-sensitive applications. Compared to related PWM controllers, the ISL6721 offers higher performance, higher integration and lower overall power solution cost.

For more information, visit www.intersil.com.


Edited by PETech Staff

Dual 5A Gate Drivers

National Semiconductor’s new LM5110 dual gate drivers offer the industry’s highest peak output current and unique negative-to-positive output voltage swing. Featuring ultrafast switching speed (14 ns rise and fall times with 25 ns propagation delay), the dual 5A peak gate drivers are offered in three versions: inverting, noninverting, and complementary. They’re designed to drive large power MOSFETs and low threshold synchronous rectifiers found in communication infrastructure power supplies, motor controls, and uninterruptible power supply (UPS) systems.

Housed in a tiny, thermally enhanced 10-pin LLP® chip-scale package (4 mm × 4 mm), the LM5110 improves thermal performance, eliminates heat sinks, and minimizes overall PCB space, which translates into improved reliability and cost savings.

For more information, visit www.national.com.


Edited by PETech Staff

Application Guide

Tyco Electronics’ application guide for Raychem brand harnessing and protection products is the first of its kind to highlight and summarize major applications for heat-shrinkable tubing, electrical interconnects, molded parts, wire and cable, adhesives, adapters, assemblies, and application equipment.

The 20-page guide is arranged in 13 sections and provides extensive application information for engineers who need to seal electronic equipment, connect electronics, protect electrical and mechanical components, shield against EMI/RFI, or connect electronics via wire and cable.

Additional sections include information on how engineers can reduce the size of their designs; bundle and package cable and components; insulate electrical and electronic components; and provide mechanical flexibility to wire, cable, and other components.

Finally, there’s information on installation equipment and harness design software. Although the guide is primarily intended for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), many of the products in the guide are well suited for maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) applications. A special section on how Raychem products can be used to provide cost-effective solutions in MRO applications is also offered.

For more information, visit www.tycoelectronics.com.


Edited by PETech Staff

Improved Productivity of Battery Manufacturing Process

Galaxy Power’s QuickForm is an extension of the QuickSaver product line used in battery formation. QuickForm forms batteries faster and with less energy while producing better-performing batteries that last longer and are more reliable than those formed with standard methods.

QuickForm quickly and precisely forms batteries, which is important because battery manufacturers know exactly when a battery is fully formed. QuickForm uses information such as that used in Galaxy’s patented QuickSaver product line to monitor the battery throughout the formation process. Standard forming is based on time and often does little or no monitoring of the battery.

QuickForm was used in a control experiment. The experiment formed a stationary flooded lead acid 50Ah 6V battery in 30% less time using 30% less energy while at the same time lowering the battery’s peak temperature by 5°F, yielding over 5% more capacity. Galaxy Power’s QuickForm algorithms for newly assembled batteries save battery manufacturers time, energy, and floor space, producing higher-quality batteries and yields.

For more information, visit www.galaxypower.com.


Edited by PETech Staff

Connector Offers 35% Space Savings

AVX Corp.’s MMA™ SMT board stacking connector is designed to maximize high-speed signal integrity and high pin count SMT capabilities. Designed for applications in communication, medical, technological, and research markets, it supports a system bandwidth in excess of 5 GHz.

The MMA system features dual active cantilever spring contacts that deliver lower insertion/withdrawal forces without jeopardizing normal forces needed for a reliable connection. AVX has developed a unique hermaphroditic design with a symmetrical insulator, creating a single connector that can mate with itself, thereby reducing applied costs, inventory, and PCB (printed circuit board) real estate by minimizing board space requirements.

Applications include high-end computers, routers, servers, optical transceivers, medical equipment, test/instrumentation, and other interconnect products. High pin count applications are supported through the attachment with minimal stress and high productivity. The MMA features a solder ball attachment to the PCB.

This stackable 10×10 connector features contact material made of beryllium copper, with proven high yield strength for contact integrity and reliability. Individual connectors are available in tape and reel packages and multiconnector high pin count modules are available in pick and place trays.

For more information, visit www.avxcorp.com.

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