Want to predict the future of semi technology? More power to you!

    February 2, 2012 1:48 PM by Linda Rae
    Ask someone at work in a leading-edge fab what the semi industry will be all about over the rest of this decade, and the first answer you're likely to get is "more power," as in “more power devices based on wide-bandgap semiconductors." Currently, silicon carbide (SiC) and gallium nitride (GaN) are considered some of the most promising materials for power devices. Rectifier diodes and power transistors with ratings ranging from 600V to more than 2kV are already in production or well on their way there.  

    Applications for SiC and GaN power components include power inverters for green (solar and wind) energy, industrial server and telecom power supplies, high-end consumer power supplies, electric vehicles, and many others. And why not? Electronic components based on these compound materials can operate at higher temperatures and have lower thermal resistance than their silicon counterparts. They also offer greater electric field strength and highly efficient operation in high frequency, high power density, or harsh environments. Silicon carbide is also being investigated for use in large-scale synthesis of graphene, a single-atom-thick form of carbon that's also likely to be integral to the future of the industry. For all these reasons, industry players are focused on SiC and GaN components as a way to power their businesses. 

    As a company serving both the R&D and production test sectors of the semiconductor fabrication market, Keithley has a vested interest in remaining deeply attuned to the emerging needs of market innovators. For power semiconductor makers, that includes supplying the instruments and systems they need to characterize the ever-lower levels of leakage currents these devices produce, as well as the higher levels of current and voltage at which they operate. Last year, we helped to sponsor the International Conference on Silicon Carbide and Related Materials when it came to Cleveland. For the future, we'll continue to invest in developing solutions for pulsed I-V characterization, Hall effect measurements, high power device characterization, and other test technologies likely to be critical to tomorrow's power device innovations.

Observations and opinions about semiconductor test, and the factors that drive how test plays a strategic role throughout the semiconductor design and production process.

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Today, I’d like to depart a little from the usual subject matter of my blog to share some exciting news from one of Keithley’s senior market development managers, Bob Green. On a customer visit to Manchester University, he and two colleagues were lucky enough to witness a rare moment of Nobel prize-winning achievement. I wanted to share Bob’s obvious excitement with those of you who read my blog, captured in his email:

Today, I’d like to depart a little from the usual subject matter of my blog to share some exciting news from one of Keithley’s senior market development managers, Bob Green. On a customer visit to Manchester University, he and two colleagues were lucky enough to witness a rare moment of Nobel prize-winning achievement. I wanted to share Bob’s obvious excitement with those of you who read my blog, captured in his email:

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