Audi, Bosch get granular on GaN

January 29, 2014 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
With silicon technology hitting the efficiency limits in power modules for electric vehicles, carmaker Audi and tier one Robert Bosch GmbH partake in a research project aiming at power modules that offer better efficiency in terms of energy and cost.

The project E2COGaN yokes seven industrial and research partners in digging into materials and circuits that could serve as basis for such energy and cost efficient GaN-based power electronics. The group plans to improve the material properties of GaN layers grown on inexpensive silicon wafers. Based on accompanying surveys and simulations they will devise a robust manufacturing process for GaN-on-Si materials which then will be used to create power components and modules. The application of these modules will be demonstrated at electric vehicles and also on photovoltaic installations.

The partners are positioned along the GaN value chain - Dresden-based Azzuro provides GaN-on-Si wafers for the semiconductors; three Fraunhofer institutes will characterise the materials, develop high temperature resistant integrated driver circuitry and create the wafer-level packaging and module integration techniques. Bosch contributes its expertise in assembly and joining techniques while Audi will develop GaN-based battery chargers for e-car deployment. In addition, the university of Kassel will develop and evaluate a PV inverter, obviously also based on this material.

The E2CoGaN project is itself part of the European ENIAC initiative. At the ENIAC level, a project with the same name is going on where 24 partners are collaborating under the coordination of On Semiconductor.

Further information: http://wwwe2cogan.eu

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