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Evolving electronic engineering ecosystems

By Alix Paultre, Editor-in-Chief

For the longest time, most of the attention in engineering was (and a lot still is) directed to a great extent to the digital parts of electronic design and the related intelligent subsystems. Power, at best, was given a space on the board to populate with a supply that met the specs and fit the space, or else. At worst, there was insufficient (or no) space and the device had to be redesigned (with the blame falling on the power systems designer) or fielded with an external supply.

The recent explosion of development in power systems, and their sudden rise in attention and importance to where they are treated as a critical subsystem, can be attributed to new materials enabling advanced power topologies to come to life. Wide-bandgap semiconductors, better dielectrics, and increased device integration have not only improved energy management in an electronic system by empowering new designs, they are bringing the rest of the components industry with them, from coils to capacitors.

Now that Gallium Nitride (GaN) and Silicon Carbide (SiC) are out of the labs and finally on the shelves, more and more design EEs are starting to play with them and integrate them into their designs (at least at the prototype stage). As Steve Ohr points out in his article Growing the infrastructure for wide-bandgap designs, “GaN devices are promising to impact the markets now held firmly by MOSFETs, including 600-V motor drives where the drivers are connected to 240-V AC mains. SiC devices with 1200 and 1800-volt capabilities will serve industrial power generation, or alternate energy sources.” His article on how a high-speed/high-voltage design infrastructure is unfolding and partnerships between wide-bandgap upstarts and more established electronic component manufacturers have really made the technology viable is well worth a read.

Here’s a video on some of the latest driver ICs:

Power Integrations’ latest gate driver ICs tout improved creepage and clearance

In this video, Mike Hornkamp of Power Integrations talks to Alix Paultre of EETimes and Power Electronics News at the SPS-IPC 2017 show about Power Integrations’ new gate driver ICs. These new devices use new packaging and topology to improve creepage and clearance. One example addressed reduced losses in IGBTs, and the advantages in drivetrain systems.

For more information visit www.power.com.

New Products
Here are some of the latest components and devices for you to check out:

AVX expands its automotive-grade tantalum capacitor selection

AVX has added a new “U” case (EIA Metric 7361-43) to its TRM Professional Series multianode, ultralow-ESR tantalum capacitors, extending the range with several new ratings designed to address the demands of an ever-expanding scope of high-reliability automotive, military, medical, aerospace, and industrial applications. These volumetrically-efficient surface-mount, J-lead capacitors are now available in “U” case, “E” case (EIA Metric 7343-43), and “D” case (EIA Metric 7343-31), meet the requirements of AEC-Q200, offer a wide range of capacitance values and voltage ratings spanning 4.7–1,500µF and 2.5–50V, and achieve twice the reliability of TPM Commercial Series tantalum capacitors, which also feature the new “U” case size.

Coilcraft’s 0402‐sized ceramic chip inductors provide Q Factors up to 162 at 2.4 GHz

Coilcraft’s 0402DC Series ceramic wirewound chip inductors offer the industry’s highest Q factors in an 0402 (1005) size – up to 162 at 2.4 GHz – for super low loss in high frequency circuits. It is offered in 26 standard inductance values ranging from 3.0 to 120 nH. An additional 73 values are available upon request, including 0.1 nH increments from 2.8 nH to 10 nH. Most values are available with 2% tolerance.

Toshiba’s small LDO regulators serve IoT applications

Toshiba Electronics Europe released the TCR3UG series of small package, low-dropout (LDO) regulators with an output current of 300mA, suitable for power management of IoT modules, wearable devices, and smartphones. Design engineers always need to consider the trade-off between the quiescent bias current, the ripple rejection ratio and load transient response of an LDO. While focusing on lowest quiescent current the TCR3UG series regulators offer the industry’s best trade-offs between these characteristics by supporting excellent ripple rejection and transient response.

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