13 December 2022
CGD and IFP Energies nouvelles sign automotive inverter development deal
Fabless semiconductor company Cambridge GaN Devices Ltd (CGD) has signed an agreement with IFP Energies nouvelles (IFPEN) — a French public research and training organization in the fields of energy, transport and the environment — to develop an automotive inverter using GaN devices.
Spun out of the University of Cambridge Department of Engineering’s Electrical Power and Energy Conversion group in 2016 by Dr Giorgia Longobardi and professor Florin Udrea, CGD designs, develops and commercializes power transistors and ICs that use GaN-on-silicon substrates.
“Technological innovation is central to all IFPEN’s activities. Therefore we are particularly excited that IFPEN has chosen CGD’s ICeGaN GaN HEMTs [high-electron-mobility transistors] in this new automotive inverter design,” says co-founder & CEO Longobardi. “IFPEN also shares CGD’s belief that close partnerships with key players are essential to the success of any project,” she adds.
“This partnership with CGD is a key element for our future activities in power electronics for e-mobility, specifically for the next generation of inverters where a technological step is required to reduce size and increase power density levels while challenging the cost,” says Gaëtan Monnier, director of IFPEN’s Mobility business unit. “We count on the cooperation with this young and dynamic, extremely innovative company to address the ambitious challenges critical to the future of e-mobility industries.”
The partnership combines two highly complementary areas of expertise. IFPEN is said to understand the automotive market and its performance targets, and possess a strong position in inverter and software development, with in-depth knowledge of the algorithms and equipment required. CGD’s GaN technology has resulted in what is claimed to be the industry’s first easy-to-use and scalable 650V GaN HEMT family. The company’s ICeGaN H1 series devices are single-chip enhancement-mode HEMTs that can be driven like a MOSFET, without the need for special gate drivers, complex and lossy driving circuits, negative voltage supply requirements or additional clamping components. ICeGaN HEMTs require no cascode structure, no complex multi-chip configurations, and no thermally complex integrated solutions. Instead, they comprise a single-chip solution with embedded proprietary logic, which enables coupling with standard gate drivers or controllers. Devices are said to be extremely reliable, suiting demanding application environments (as found in the automotive market).