Hidden heroes realizing a low-carbon economy – The future of power semiconductors

27-Oct-2021 Intellasia | PR Newswire Asia | 9:00 AM Print This Post

SINGAPORE, Oct. 27, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- De-carbonization is fast emerging as a global trend. Find out more about how Toshiba's power semiconductors are key devices for power management and control and contributing to a low-carbon economy. 

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Takeshi Kamebuchi, Vice President, Semiconductor Division, Toshiba Electronic Devices & Storage Corporation
Takeshi Kamebuchi, Vice President, Semiconductor Division, Toshiba Electronic Devices & Storage Corporation

 

Power semiconductors are installed in all electrical equipment
Power semiconductors are installed in all electrical equipment

 

An aerial view of the 300mm wafer facility at Kaga Toshiba Electronics Corporation, Ishikawa prefecture, Japan
An aerial view of the 300mm wafer facility at Kaga Toshiba Electronics Corporation, Ishikawa prefecture, Japan

Power semiconductors manage the supply and control of power—electric power, that is. Simply explained they play the role of an on-off switch, but by switching on and off at very high speed they can convert direct and alternating current, raise and lower voltages, and convert power frequencies. Takeshi Kamebuchi, who heads Toshiba's semiconductor business, explains: "If we compare semiconductors to parts of the body, processors and memories can be seen as the brain, but power semiconductors play the role of the heart and muscles."

They handle power control in all kinds of electrical equipment, ranging from home appliances to key infrastructure equipment. Improving the performance of power semiconductors reduces power loss, and directly contributes to reducing the power consumption of equipment.

In March 2021, Toshiba made an important decision toward ensuring the future of its power semiconductor business: to invest in larger diameter wafers production facility. Semiconductors are manufactured on discs of silicon, known as wafers. Larger wafers yield more chips, and production is more efficient. The electrification of automobiles, automation of industrial equipment, widespread use of inverter technology in home appliances, and the expanded use of renewable energy, are all contributing to increased demand for power semiconductors.

The company is also exploring next generation devices. Most semiconductors are made of silicon, but in some applications, particularly those requiring high voltage and high speed switching, silicon is pushing the limits of its physical characteristics. Continued progress and better next-generation performance will require compound semiconductor materials, and two that are attracting strong attention are silicon carbide (SiC) and gallium nitride (GaN). They are expected to deliver dramatic improvements over silicon devices.

With the collective strength of Toshiba Group, the company aims to expand the power semiconductor business and contribute to the realization of a carbon-free future.

 

 

 

 

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