Pioneering a new era
of power devices with SiC
Contributing to the creation of new added value and solving social issues through the development of innovative power devices
Innovations are necessary for power devices to handle power more efficiently in the near future
This includes next-generation cars such as electric vehicles (EV) and fuel cell vehicles (FCV) that do not emit combustion gas along with data centers and 5G base stations that support convenient IoT and digital transformation (DX). Our future will soon be inundated with advanced electrical and electronic products that consume electricity. To allow more people to benefit from these devices while minimizing the waste of precious resources, it is important to create a mechanism for handling power more efficiently. As such, power devices, which are the core components in power systems and power supplies, must undergo technological innovation to become the cornerstone of the new era in order to adapt to high power electrical and electronic equipment and contribute to the preservation of the global environment.
ROHM innovates power devices with SiC, ushering in a new era for semiconductors
In the field of power devices, it is becoming increasingly difficult to expect innovation from technologically mature Si (silicon) devices. As a result, the semiconductor material that is attracting attention as a breakthrough replacement for silicon is SiC (silicon carbide), featuring superior performance and thermal resistance at high voltages.
ROHM is fully committed to developing not only silicon-based high voltage transistors (MOSFETs, IGBTs) and diodes (SBDs, FRDs), but SiC MOSFETs and SiC Schottky barrier diodes as well for the power device field. ROHM continues to lead the industry in SiC device technology and products, since the beginning of the world’s first mass produced SiC MOSFETs in 2010. ROHM is able to develop advanced SiC devices ahead of the industry by utilizing an integrated production system that leverages in-house technologies essential for SiC devices, from SiC wafer fabrication and new device structures to production processes, packaging, and quality control methods. Now, ROHM is pioneering a new era, bringing together cutting-edge needs and expertise on power devices from all over the world. To meet these various requirements, ROHM develops and supplies products and technologies that provide new added value – not only for SiC devices, but Si components as well.
Maximizing the vast potential of SiC devices
In 2020, ROHM announced the development of its 4th gen SiC MOSFETs that promises to deliver breakthrough performance. Further improving on the original double trench structure adopted in 3rd gen products makes it possible to reduce ON resistance by 40% over existing models without sacrificing high reliability. In addition, we have succeeded in significantly reducing parasitic capacitance (which is a problem during switching), leading to 50% lower switching loss. These low ON-resistance, high-speed switching characteristics allow the 4th Gen SiC MOSFETs to dramatically reduce power consumption and contribute to greater miniaturization in a variety of electronic and electric devices, including EV inverters and switching power supplies for industrial equipment. However, the high potential of SiC devices means there is still the possibility of performance improvement. ROHM has already begun development of 5th gen SiC MOSFETs and will continue to lead the industry in device evolution.
What's more, a research group led by Associate Professor Hiroshi Fujimoto of Tokyo University developed an In-Wheel Motor (IWM) that can be mounted inside a tire wheel utilizing ROHM SiC devices to reduce the size of the inverter, allowing the IWM to be directly charged from the road while driving.
Pursuing the top share through aggressive investment in the rapidly expanding SiC power device market
The effectiveness of SiC devices has become widely known due to its superior characteristics. As such, the market is expected to grow fourfold from 2018 to 2025 following the rapid development of applications, primarily inverters for electric vehicles. ROHM is aggressively investing in facilities and to secure sufficient production capacity and meet the growing demand for SiC devices, with the goal of securing a market share of 30%.
The acquisition of German SiC wafer manufacturer SiCrystal in 2009 allows ROHM to establish a stable procurement system for high quality SiC wafers necessary for the stable production of SiC devices while at the same time increase both the diameter and production capacity. Furthermore, in December 2020 a production building dedicated to SiC devices was completed at the Chikugo factory (Fukuoka prefecture) of ROHM Apollo Corp. - a production base for front-end processes. ROHM is also strengthening its BCM (Business Continuity Management) system for the purpose of establishing a robust production system that can respond to increasing demand over the medium- to long-term.
Going forward, ROHM will contribute to the creation of new value for power and power supply systems of the future while solving social issues through industry-leading power device technologies and products that achieve greater energy savings and miniaturization.