Silicon-based technology ignited the development of the electronics industry in the last century, promoting the birth of Intel, IBM and some other world semiconductor giants in the “Silicon Valley”. Nowadays, 40% of the world’s energy consumption relates to the use of electricity which is mainly dissipated by power semiconductor devices, making power electronics to become the foundation of modern electronics industry. However, the traditional silicon-based power devices are hard to meet the demand of today’s needs for high efficiency, high density and high reliability to cope with harsh environment and lightweight miniaturization. The 3rd generation semiconductors represented by GaN (Gallium Nitride) and SiC (Silicon Carbide) have emerged a breakthrough and are widely adopted as the next generation power solutions for a range of industries such as data centers, 5G, EV/HEV, robotics, smart energy, smart grid, smart transportation, smart mobility, smart manufacturing and etc., to support national/local governments’ initiatives of energy conservation and environmental protection, and all the related technologies could be classified as the advanced power electronics (APE).
According to the market research data published by Global Market Insights, global power electronics market share is forecasted to surpass US$ 45 billion by 2024, and the Asia-Pacific (APAC), especially China, is expected to hold the largest share of the power electronics market for its emergence as a strong manufacturing hub with increasing innovation and manufacturing activities. Moreover, the development of the 3rd generation semiconductor devices and the associated packaging and applications are one of the major political directions in China’s 13th and 14th Five-Year Plan, which is expected to play a leading role in the implementation of national strategies as “Made in China 2025” and “the Belt and Road”. The Electronics Components Technology Division has more than 3 years collaboration with China Advanced Semiconductor Industry Innovation Alliance (CASA), which is the corresponding organization for policy formulation and project implementation, and it has been recognized as the vice-director unit bridging the Mainland and oversea.
With a special focus on the application of the advanced power electronics technologies by adopting the 3rd generation semiconductor devices, a series of technology platforms have been successfully constructed in the past 5 years, which comprises:
1. 3D High Power Electronics Platform
Based on the 3D wirebondless packaging technology and the large-scale molding technology, a novel fully-molded 3D wirebondless packaging format with dual-side-cooled thermal interface was successfully demonstrated in 2015 to overcome the bottlenecks of thermal and reliability induced by the wirebonded interconnects. It is an ideal packaging platform for the 3rd generation semiconductor devices to be used in EV/HEV and the technology was protected by 6 US/CN patents.
2. Integrated Power Modules Platform
By adopting the System-in-Package technology of the device, substrate and module levels,
ASTRI has successfully developed an integrated power module with improved power density, electrical and thermal performance for the next generation networking and telecommunication equipment. All the developed platform technologies, including design, modeling & simulation, process recipes and testing capabilities, were successfully transferred to the industry co-applicant to achieve the mass production in their own production line, and were protected by 5 CN patents as well.
3. GaN-based High Density Power Conversion Platform
This technology platform aimed to develop a novel modularized power switching package by proposing the “Vertical-Driver-GaN (VDG)” packaging technology to solve the concurrent high speed & high efficiency switching of the gate driver and the long term interconnect reliability challenges in the implementation of GaN (Gallium Nitride) power device for the next generation power conversion applications, such as DC-DC power modules widely adopted in the data centers, telecommunication equipment, robotics, military and aerospace industries. Part of the products specifications were collected in the technology roadmap for the 3rd generation semiconductor power electronics published by CASA in 2018, and all the developed technologies were protected by 10 US/CN patents.
4. 3D-SiP Pilot Line
As the foundation to develop the above-mentioned platform technologies, a power semiconductor packaging pilot assembly line was setup together with the HKSTP in 2014. There were 24 sets of major equipment in the line to support the process development of the new packages and products, technology transfer to the customers and small volume production for the local industries.