Infineon and Amber collaborate for digital control of electricity in silicon engineering


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Infineon Technologies and Amber have announced a collaboration that will see the commercialization of Amber’s technology on digital electrical control in a silicon architecture. Key applications are associated with Amber’s patented technologies such as AC/DC Enabler and AC Switch for smart circuit breakers, dimmers and new solutions with the Infineon family of products. In an exclusive interview with EEWeb, Thar Casey, CEO of Amber, and Steve Backus, Senior Director of Energy Transformation at Infineon Technologies, discussed the commercial and technical aspects of this collaboration, which will see a partnership around the digital electricity control market with intelligent. “The goal is to exploit solid-state technology and move beyond electromechanical systems — massive electrolytic and magnetic capacitors, transformers and other passive elements that are standard today,” Casey said. Infineon and CoolMOS power MOSFET technology proved up to the task. Our alliance aims to deliver the transformation of every electrical endpoint in all residential and commercial buildings into a modern silicon architecture with built-in intelligence. Our technology portfolio and customer base, as well as the Infineon Group as one of the largest suppliers of silicon to industrial power control and beyond, support a strong opportunity for solid-state electrification for us all. Our goal now is to disrupt the market and integrate modern, silicon-based intelligence into every part of a building’s electrical grid, such as dimmers and circuit breakers. We are also looking for an innovative path for our technology and aim to integrate Infineon technology with some new solutions for the market. “The combination of Amber’s innovative technology and Infineon technology is a very good match to open this market. We see strong potential in the residential switchgear market, outlets and circuit breakers ready for interruption,” he said. “We’ve looked at Amber technology, and believe that together, we can help them.” on driving this transformation not only with our MOSFETs but also with microcontrollers, security ICs, and sensors that can help bring intelligence to these applications. I think this is a huge opportunity and I’m very excited about it.” Amber technology and e-CoolMOS The electrical numerical control breakthrough allows for the introduction of upgradeable firmware and machine learning algorithms embedded in buildings. The solid-state architecture – with electronic components and silicon chips – allows this breakthrough to be obtained in Complete, making it possible to integrate software intelligence directly into electrical products and electrical infrastructure, and thus into the building structure.Amber provides solid-state digital control of electricity through its patented Amber AC/DC Enabler and amber AC adapter.AC/DC Enabler A new AC/DC switching topology that does not require magnets or high voltage electrolytic capacitors and is capable of producing a low-noise DC output of up to 5W of power.Amber AC Switch is a digital power management arc-free switch that eliminates bulky relays and dimmers TRIAC.It is also a dual throw solid state line disturbance circuit breaker for ground fault detection and fault circuit interrupters. The arc. Built with Infineon microcontroller and MOSFETs configured in a robust and proprietary architecture, it is completely shielded from inductive overcurrent, short circuit, capacitive, surge, and over-temperature conditions. Figure 1: Smart Circuit Breaker (Source: Amber) Figure 2: Amber AC/DC Enabler (Source: Amber) “Application environments for these products can be very challenging, and you can’t fail; silicon solutions must offer better reliability than Existing solutions.” Today, Amber CoolMOS 7 Superjunction MOSFET is used [S7] Technology developed specifically for these types of applications. Infineon’s CoolMOS 7 Superjunction MOSFET technology offers full-load range efficiency advantages in static switching applications over the previous CoolMOS series. The application of static switching of power MOSFETs is where power MOSFETs are switched at low frequency, from a few revolutions per minute to the low kilohertz range. Switching the power loss of the MOSFET in these applications is no less a concern, and the electrical properties of the MOSFET are focused on low conduction losses and durability. Moving forward, we will look at how to improve the performance of MOSFET and silicon carbide for this application. This includes reliability, packaging and cost improvements for these types of applications.” The S7 family of superconducting high-voltage MOSFETs sets a new standard for power density by uniquely fitting a 22 mΩ chip into an innovative lead-free micro-SMD package. It is well suited for applications where switched MOSFETs are At low frequency, such as active bridge rectifier, inverter phases, impulse relays, PLCs, power solid state relays, and solid circuit breakers.For solid state relays and solid state circuit breaker designs, Infineon’s CoolMOS S7 MOSFETs are complemented by the rest of the CoolMOS family of superconducting MOSFETs , IGBT, low- and medium-voltage OptiMOS, galvanic-insulated gate drives, and photovoltaic insulators Figure 3: CoolMOS S7 solutions (Source: Infineon) Figure 4: Smart Solid State Circuit Breaker (Source: Infineon) “Our transistors are modular,” Backus said. MOSFETs are specifically designed for DC applications, load switching applications, etc.” “We will continue to look into this application to improve performance for this type of DC application. Circuit breaker space is a challenge because it’s a rough electrical environment, but Amber engineering tames that environment by sensing and proactively mitigating events such as surges and inductive load spikes before they cause problems, unlike conventional switches and breakers designed only to try to survive these events. To achieve this, Amber’s solution incorporates some intelligence in the form of a PSoC microcontroller from the recent acquisition of Cypress Semiconductor, but this requires a regulated DC supply, all of which requires external magnets and capacitors. The challenge is that there is no place for these plug-ins in the extremely small, fixed dimensions of a circuit breaker, light switch or electrical outlet box. This is where Amber’s Enabler IP comes into the picture. It provides a regulated DC supply in a very small and economical space without the need for bulky magnets or capacitors, giving way as well as providing DC power to other features such as sensors and wireless communications. Achieving the goal of a monolithic IC with enablers, PSoCs, and FETs may be theoretically possible but not feasible. But this does not exclude the presence of this solution in one package. We will work closely with Amber to draw on our extensive experience in packaging to find the best way to split and package this solution that is small but also thermally efficient. We look forward to working with Amber to help bring these solutions to life and to help transform the residential energy landscape. Casey and Backus of the Amber-Infineon Partnership noted that the collaboration has two main goals starting this year. The first will focus on upgrading the power management architecture in specific product categories, such as smart switches, standard dimmers, sockets, and more, with Amber’s silicon-based solutions. and Infineon.All related applications will benefit from smart and dynamic energy management in a small form.The second objective will explore the integration of some of Amber’s own architectures, with Infineon’s product roadmap to establish opportunities in terms of new solutions for new markets.Amber and Infineon anticipate many more Opportunities in this collaboration Backus noted that Amber’s engineering matches many of Infineon’s power and computing solution offerings. Replacing mechanical-based components with solid-state technology receives Infineon’s full attention.By replacing bulky and costly traditional magnetic and mechanical components, the solution reduces Amber of costs and space, a major factor in electrical switches and boxes.Casey said, “The corporate mindset in manufacturing products such as electromechanical switches and sockets has always been fuel, or rather for more than a century.” “However, in the last five years, let’s say, this mentality has changed a little bit. When you have a computer in your hand or a phone, and you can do everything with it, but at the same time still use electromechanical technology in your home, like sockets and switches, That’s something wrong. The same thing with energy: You have to know how much you’re spending and where you’re wasting it. That’s what solid state is all about, and that’s what intelligence is all about. When you have a whole base with a full set of sensors and algorithms, you become aware of your surroundings; You know your power, power management, and control. Ul and IEC are becoming more and more aware of solid state switches. And they know this is the next step. In the United States, we have UL 489, which is a specification for solid state circuit breakers. And then in Europe and the rest of the world, it released The International Electrotechnical Commission has just drafted its 2025 solid-state circuit breaker. So it still takes time, and I believe now, that with this cooperation we will create strong market traction.” “There is no doubt that this is an emerging and developing market,” Backus said. “There will be innovations, there will be things to discover and learn with our customers, and we will continue to innovate and shape our technology toward those applications. It will take some time, but we believe that right now, there is a huge opportunity to improve features via a standard switch or cutter.” After surveying the market, Amber noted that light switching dimming solutions are a problem. “That would be our immediate focus: better quality, affordable dimmers with a more streamlined size that can fit in boxes, using MOSFET technology, not any kind of old technology like TRIAC,” Casey said. “Everything will be connected to the home by monitoring and measuring intelligence and energy.” Backus commented that in addition to MOSFETs, a full suite of Infineon technology porfolios including sensors and microphones can be used to make the architecture truly smart. “Amber’s solution provides space in the application to do this using our miniature solid-state sensing technologies, as well as providing security so that the system is not compromised,” he said. Infineon and Amber truly believe that this important collaboration will have practical implications on many fronts. CoolMOS is the starting point, but other semiconductor solutions will include Amber technology. Please visit Power Electronics News for the full article.


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