The Last Power project aims to make the EU independent from other developed countries on wide band-gap semiconductors. In particular, the effort focused on high-quality materials, leading-edge equipment, and advanced processing.
This field is of strategic importance since it involves the development of high-efficiency systems, with the potential for high revenue, for applications whenever electric power is needed. This ranges from telecommunication to automotive, from consumer electronics to electrical household appliances, from industrial applications to home automation.
In particular, the consortium targeted European technology, including equipment, processing, and characterization, to address many of the possible applications. The know-how takes advantage of the presence of the most advanced public research centers and reference universities operating on SiC and GaN technologies, large companies that are world leaders, and many SME from six EU countries.
The EU established the target of developing 150-mm 4H-SiC wafers that qualify as “state-of-the-art.” To date, Last Power has fabricated 100-mm wafers. In addition, the consortium considered GaN heteroepitaxy on 150-mm Si wafers.
The consortium consists of:
STMicroelectronics (Coordinator), Italy
Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR) - Istituto per la Microelettronica e Microsistemi (IMM), Italy
Foundation for Research & Technology - Hellas - Institute of Electronic Structure & Laser, Greece
Consorzio Catania Ricerche, Italy
Instytut Wysokich Cisnien PAN, Poland
Università della Calabria, Italy
SiCrystal AG, Germany
SEPS Technologies AB, Sweden
SenSiC AB, Sweden
Acreo AB, Department Nanoelectronics, Sweden
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece
Angelo Alberto Messina has worked with STMicroelectronics for 14 years, and is currently with its corporate R&D and public affairs department.
Dear Rob, " SEMICONDUCTOR PROCESS AND INTEGRATION" is one of the 8 "Research, Development and Innovation priorities for 2013" (http://www.eniac.eu/web/downloads/AWP/awp2013.pdf). In this respect "Competitivness through Semiconductor Process Differentiation" is one of its main 3 "Grand Challenges". therefore EU is already clearly aware. In this phase Consortium is looking mainly for the best enaibling technology; costs will be then optimized after a proper industrialization phase. Anyway we trust on our results as the best way to push for a very specific EU mandate on this field.
Angelo, this is an interesting effort. It is good to see the technology being developed in a diverse set of locations. I am familiar with STMicro microcontrollers, but have not worked with your power electronic components.
Nice article, Angelo. Does the consortium plan to push for an EU mandate on this? Ordinarily, OEMs would look for the best technology at the best price without regard to region -- except inasmuch as distance affects price.
Load dump occurs when a discharged battery is disconnected while the alternator is generating current and other loads remain on the alternator circuit. If left alone, the electrical spikes and transients will be transmitted along the power line, leading to malfunctions in individual electronics/sensors or permanent damage to the vehicle’s electronic system. Bottom line: An uncontrolled load dump threatens the overall safety and reliability of the vehicle.
While many larger companies are still reluctant to rely on wireless networks to transmit important information in industrial settings, there is an increasing acceptance rate of the newer, more robust wireless options that are now available.
To those who have not stepped into additive manufacturing, get involved as soon as possible. This is for the benefit of your company. When the new innovations come out, you want to be ready to take advantage of them immediately, and that takes knowledge.
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