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  Date: 17th Apr 2011

Fairchild Semiconductor gains SiC expertise by acquiring ranSiC

Fairchild Semiconductor has acquired ranSiC, a Silicon Carbide (SiC) power transistor company. Silicon Carbide based power semiconductor devices are more efficient than silicon bases devices. With the power consumption becoming key factor the SiC based devices are increasingly finding importance.

Through this acquisition Fairchild Semiconductor gains bipolar SiC transistor technology and a team of highly experienced SiC engineers and scientists and multiple patents in SiC technology.

"The combination of silicon carbide technology with Fairchild's existing capabilities in MOSFETs, IGBTs and multi-chip modules, along with our global access to customers, positions us to continue to be a leader in innovative, high performance power transistor technology," said Mark Thompson, Fairchild's Chairman, CEO and president.

"The performance levels achieved with SiC technology allow for much higher efficiency in power conversion. It also offers a higher switching speed, a feature that enables smaller end system form factors. Silicon Carbide technology is established in the market with a strong lead over alternatives in the wide bandgap area for applications that require voltages greater than 600V and demonstrates superior ruggedness and reliability," added Dan Kinzer, Fairchild's Chief Technology Officer.

Benefits SiC over pure Silicon include:
lower on-state voltage drop for a given chip size
higher current density
higher temperature operation
extremely low thermal resistance
ultra fast switching with only majority carrier conduction
easy drive solutions due to normally off operation with current gain in the range of 100
easy paralleling due to the positive temperature coefficient of resistance

Additionally, the device resistance is very near the theoretical limit for SiC. Turn-on and turn-off times in the 25ns range switching 50A from 800V have been demonstrated. Parametric stability has been demonstrated under long term full rated bias and current stress conditions.

These high gain SiC bipolar devices are ideal for high-power conversion applications in down-hole drilling, solar inverters, wind-powered inverters, electric and hybrid electric vehicles, industrial drives, UPS and light rail traction applications. These markets are projected by Yole Development to approach $1 billion by 2020.

This device is capable of industry leading efficiency, cutting losses relative to established silicon approaches by up to half, or allowing an increase of frequency by up to 4X with similar losses. Overall system cost and value can benefit from much smaller, lighter passive components. For systems that require the best efficiency and power density, there is no equal.

Fairchild is sampling initial 1200V products up to 50A ratings in targeted applications. Future offerings are in development to expand the voltage and current range, and to continue to drive improved energy saving.

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