Driven by the automotive sector, the semiconductor industry keeps thriving despite the current COVID 19-pandemic. New technologies and wide bandgap materials like SiC and GaN are currently transforming the industry. Frank Heidemann, CEO of SET GmbH, explained in an exclusive interview with German trade magazine “Markt&Technik” what potential this offers for measurement technology.
You can find a teaser below, or read the whole interview here:
New materials are driving the market for power semiconductor testing
“A leading position in SiC translates into a real market advantage”
Markt&Technik: Mr Heidemann, when we met at the embedded world fair 2020, we already covered the topic of HiL testing. In today’s interview, we want to focus on power semiconductor testing – i.e. your company’s second pillar. Of course, there is an overlap of the two topics, but still: Where do you currently put your development focus?
Frank Heidemann: Actually, in our company, the two topics complement each other perfectly. Throughout the years, we have gained a lot of expertise on fatigue tests and testing models for power semiconductors. And consequently, we have developed a lot of understanding for validation. So, we do not only have a single development focus, we rather apply our core competencies in various areas. In the power semiconductor segment, we work with high voltages of up to 6 500 V and high currents of up to 3 500 A. In HiL, the target is to create real-time environments and to simulate models. For the moment, it is true, however, that the market for semiconductors is rapidly growing due to silicon carbide, in short SiC, and that we are very excited about these technologies as well, for we play a substantial role in driving the current market development for dynamic testing systems.
It seems that the COVID 19-pandemic has little to no effect on the power semiconductor business. Why is that?
It is obvious, that COVID 19 has hit the semiconductor industry less hard when compared to other industries. Of course, the March lockdown also had its effects on the share notations of semiconductor businesses, but we have also had a much stronger recovery since. Right now, our industry is seeing a growth cycle, which in large parts is due to the technological change currently underway. After having talked about wide bandgap materials like SiC and GaN for twenty years, we now have actual use for these products as parts of our applications. In power electronics, we can tap new potentials. Infineon, for instance, has announced, that by the end of the year, they want to expand their SiC semiconductor portfolio by 50 percent. And other companies like STMicroelectronics are also looking to massively increase their SiC turnover during the next five years.