Components Expert

What is a power semiconductor? Overview of power semiconductor categories

Power semiconductors perform the same tasks as conventional semiconductors only on a larger scale. These high-performance components can handle extremely high currents, voltages and frequencies.

What is a power semiconductor?

Like all semiconductor devices, power semiconductors are used to correct and amplify electrical signals, or to turn current on and off. However, unlike conventional semiconductors, these devices are designed to handle high currents and voltages up to several gigawatts.As a component in the power management subsystem, power semiconductors are commonly used as switching devices and rectifiers (used to convert electrical signals), and to change the voltage or frequency of current.

There are three types of power switches: Metal Oxide Silicon Transistor (MOSFET), Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistor (IGBT) and Bipolar Junction Transistor (BJT). The latter is either used alone or as part of a power integrated circuit (PIC).

The main industries that benefit from power semiconductors include power transmission and distribution, automobiles and transportation, renewable energy, consumer electronics, and other industrial applications. They play a key role in the sustainable and efficient use of energy and can be used to transport energy over long distances with minimal loss.

Power Semiconductor

Overview of power semiconductor categories

Power semiconductors used in power management systems can be divided into different categories. The following briefly introduces the four main categories of power semiconductors:

  • Power MOSFET:Power metal oxide silicon transistors are fully controllable power semiconductor switches designed to handle large amounts of power. They are the most commonly used type of power transistors and perform particularly well at high frequencies. As four terminal devices, they have gate, drain, source and body terminals. In addition to being easy to operate and maintain, power MOSFETs also provide low gate drive power, fast switching speed, and wide bandwidth. The output current of the input voltage control element.
  • IGBT:Insulated gate bipolar transistors are another fully controllable power semiconductor switch, usually used in low- and medium-frequency applications. Like power MOSFETs, they have a high-impedance gate, so they can turn the device on or off with very little power. IGBTs have high power ratings and low on-state voltages, and are often used as discrete devices in power electronic devices such as air conditioners and electric vehicles.
  • Thyristor:Thyristors are semi-controllable power semiconductor switches with two or three terminals. Also called thyristor rectifiers, they control the flow of current in unidirectional or bidirectional circuit configurations. These components are commonly used to protect circuits in household appliances, power tools, and outdoor equipment.
  • Power diode (rectifier):Power diode is an uncontrollable power semiconductor device that can rectify very strong electrical signals. They can handle voltages of hundreds of amperes and thousands of kilovolts. These elements have an anode terminal, a cathode terminal, and a semiconductor composed of a P-N junction. The P-N junction in the power diode is larger than the P-N junction in the conventional diode. Both the P and N layers are doped, although one layer is more doped than the other.