IGBT Module Distributor in China
- High-voltage, high-speed power conversion applications.
- Reduced thermal resistance, low tail current, low-energy loss, and high-speed switching capabilities.
- Optimized for different switching ranges.
- Soft-recovery characteristic, which is ideal in reducing turn-on and turn-off losses.
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Reputed IGBT Module Supplier - Rantle East Electronic
RANTLE IGBT high-voltage, high-speed power conversion applications. RANTLE IGBT Module is developed using the proprietary thin-wafer XPT™ technology. RANTLE IGBT Module provides reduced thermal resistance, low tail current, low-energy loss, and high-speed switching capabilities. RANTLE IGBT Module allows a reduction in the associated gate drive circuitry, a simpler design, and an improvement in overall system reliability.
RANTLE IGBT Module is optimized for different switching ranges. RANTLE IGBT Module features a positive collector-to-emitter voltage temperature coefficient which enables you to use multiple devices in parallel to meet high current requirements and low gate charges which help to reduce gate drive requirements and switching losses.
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IGBT Module: The Ultimate FAQ Guide
Today’s guide covers all the vital aspects about IGBT module such as benefits, construction, performance parameters, tail current, safety operation, and characteristics, amongst others.
So, if you want to be an expert in IGBT modules, this is the right guide for you.
Let’s dive right in:
- What is IGBT?
- What is an IGBT Module?
- Why is it called Insulated-gate?
- How is an IGBT Module Constructed?
- How does an IGBT Module Work?
- What is the Switching Characteristic of the IGBT Module?
- What are some Performance Parameters for the IGBT Module?
- What is Tail Current?
- What is the Safe Operating Area of the IGBT Module?
- Does the IGBT Module Block Reverse Voltage?
- What are the Advantages of using an IGBT Module?
- What are some of the Limitations of an IGBT Module?
- What are the Types of Power IGBTs used in Modules?
- What is IGBT Module Saturation?
- How is the IGBT Die Attached to the Module Package?
- How can an IGBT Module Fail?
- What Are Some Design Considerations for an IGBT Module?
- What are Bonding Wires in an IGBT Module?
- Does the IGBT Module have the DBC Substrate?
- Is an IGBT Module Cooled?
- How does the Voltage Characteristic of an IGBT Module relate to that of Power MOSFETs?
- Where is the Power IGBT used?
- Why is the IGBT Module used in Inverters?
What is IGBT?
IGBT is short for insulated gate bipolar transistor.
The design of the IGBT is such that it incorporates aspects of transistors such as the bipolar junction transistor and the metal-oxide-semiconductor FET.
It captures the gate-drive simplicities of the MOSFET with the BJT’s ability to conduct large currents.
The IGBT is a power semiconductor device with three terminals characterized emitter, collector and gate.
Also, the emitter and collector terminals are alternating pairs of P-N layers that provide conductivity.
The gate is a metal-oxide-semiconductor that acts as a controller.
It has the capacity to carry large amounts of bipolar current.
These features enable the IGBT to achieve optimality.
What is an IGBT Module?
An IGBT module is an electronic device composed of multiple interconnected power IGBTs intended for use in high power applications.
The power IGBTs are electrically connected to a substrate with isolated electrical and thermal conductivity.
Alongside the power IGBTs, such a module can be packaged with a power diode, a converter, and a brake circuit.
The IGBT module has a large power density enabling its use in large switching applications and as a power inverter.
This allows its use in electric vehicles, welding machines, variable frequency drives, trains and refrigeration, and air conditioning.
Additionally, the performance of switching operations is fast enough to modulate complex wave patterns by filtering and modifying their pulse width.
With this capability, the IGBT module is employed in audio systems as amplifiers that are switchable and control systems in industries.
Why is it called Insulated-gate?
The insulated-gate bipolar transistor derives the insulated-gate from the technology used in MOSFETs.
Metal-oxide-semiconductors have a gate component insulated from the channel by an oxide layer.
This layer traps electrons when upon movement across the channel.
Alongside the name, the IGBT semiconductors possess the MOSFET’s high input impedance.
Additionally, the characteristic switching speeds of IGBTs are thanks to the metal-oxide-semiconductor FETs.
How is an IGBT Module Constructed?
High power IGBT
The construction of an IGBT module is heavily based on the power IGBT semiconductor.
You find the IGBT being a circuit equivalent to a bipolar junction transistor pair and a metal-oxide-semiconductor FET.
The IGBT is a four layer composition of p-type and n-type semiconductor materials.
This forms a terminal trio that is each attached to a layer of metal.
The metal and semiconductor based material are separated by an oxide layer of silicon.
For the collector and emitter the positively doped layers of semiconducting material are closest. These layers are sandwiched by negatively doped semiconducting materials.
How does an IGBT Module Work?
For the IGBT module, a voltage is applied initiates its operation.
One source of voltage connects to the gate while the other is connected at the junction of the emitter and collector.
Both connections are relative to the emitter terminal.
The voltage through the first junction will be of forwarding bias.
That through the second junction will be of reverse bias.
This sate of the second junction ensures current is not conducted in the IGBT.
Without a voltage application at the gate, the IGBT is in an off state.
However, the capacitance effect at the gate due to a voltage causes accumulation of charge carriers on the oxide layer surface.
The majority of carriers are on top and the minority carriers on the reverse.
This formation allows the current conductivity from the collector to the emitter.
An increase in the voltage at the gate results in an increase in the flow of current.
What is the Switching Characteristic of the IGBT Module?
The power IGBT is only conductive in the forward direction.
As a semiconductor device that is controlled by a voltage application, the IGBT is conductive even with limited voltage.
In order to carry out a switch, the current has to be flowing from the collector to the emitter.
An absence of gate voltage is an off state with no current conductivity.
Upon, overcoming the threshold voltage the IGBT accepts current through the collector to the emitter.
The amount of current conducted is directly proportional to the voltage applied.
Also, the point at which there is a voltage nullity at the gate is called cutoff.
This point extending to the threshold voltage is called the cutoff region.
Before the threshold level is attained, there is a limited current flow called leakage current.
What are some Performance Parameters for the IGBT Module?
The IGBT module works best when certain technical and electrical conditions are met.
These specifications are usually included by module manufactures in the datasheet.
Besides, these characteristics are called parameters.
Performance parameters are used to inform on the allowable range of various operating conditions.
These ranges provide the maximum or minimum values of distinct aspects within which the IGBT module can be operated.
· Gate-Emitter Voltage
This parameter defines the highest voltage value possible for the gate and emitter.
Besides, this is specific to the shorting of the collector to the gate.
This voltage amount is determined by the thickness of the oxide layer at the gate and its characteristics.
· Collector Current
This parameter is provided for a temperature value of 25 0C and a temperature value not exceeding 150 0C at the semiconductor junction.
Collector current refers to the direct current amount that will necessitate the achievement of the highest junction temperature.
· Maximum Power
The maximum power rating is the power output that causes the junction temperature to rise to 150 0C.
This is provided the ambient temperature is 25 0C.
The amount of power is provided in watts.
· Junction Temperature
The junction temperature is a parameter that provides for the allowable temperature range for the power semiconductors in a module.
Also, the junction temperature is considered for an operational IGBT module and provided in degrees Celsius.
· Leakage Current
This parameter is specific to the leakage current between the collector and emitter of the power IGBTs in the module.
It is measured at a defined temperature and with the rated voltage amount with a shorted gate from an emitter.
· Threshold Voltage
Threshold voltage defines the voltage value at the gate and emitter boundary of a turned on module.
You find threshold voltage with a temperature coefficient that is negative.
This parameter has linear proportionality to the thickness of the gate oxide.
Additionally, it varies with the doping values of the p-type material.
The threshold voltage is also affected by the charge at the semiconductor-oxide interface.
· Saturation Voltage
Saturation voltage is influenced by the module temperature, a voltage of the power IGBTs’ gate, and current at the collector.
Saturation voltage is the voltage drop across the power IGBTs collector and emitter.
When aspects relating to the resistance e of the MOSFET and JFET areas are reduced, saturation voltage is decreased.
When the gain of the layer terminals of the BJP is increased the voltage drop is minimized.
You are able to minimize voltage drop by adjusting the channel size to be wider and shorter.
You can also increase the length of the gate and reduce the threshold voltage.
In addition to reducing the voltage drop, it also improves the capacity of minority charge carriers.
This parameter addresses trans-conductance in the forward bias and at temperatures not exceeding 100 0C.
Here, this measurement is provided by altering the voltage of the interconnected power IGBT gates.
This voltage is directly proportional to the semiconductors’ collector current.
When the current values are higher than the module’s rated capacity, the trans-conductance is reduced.
Besides, this is a protective trait especially in the occurrence of a circuit with a shorted operation.
There are two capacitance parameters to measure in this case, the input capacitance and the output capacitance.
Input capacitance is determined for the semiconductor junction between the gate and the emitter.
The collector is in a short circuit with the emitter and is provided as a summation with the Miller capacitance.
Output capacitance is measured when a sort circuit is created between the gate and emitter.
It is the capacitance value for the collector-emitter semiconductor junction.
This capacitance value is determined by the voltage at the p-n junctions of the power IGBTs.
What is Tail Current?
When an IGBT module is in operation, the time taken for the recombination of electron holes is measurable.
This is true for a module whose voltage drop at the gate and emitter junction has dropped below the threshold.
Recombination occurs at the drift area.
If this recombination takes more than the expected allowed time, the extra time incurred defines the tail current.
What is the Safe Operating Area of the IGBT Module?
A module’s safe operating area defines the current and voltage limits the module can operate without failing.
In this area, you achieve the expected efficiency and performance levels for an IGBT module.
When the current is low the module cannot achieve the highest voltage value because of a breakdown occurrence.
For low voltage amounts, the intrusive latch-up of the thyristor prevents the conduction of high value currents.
The safe operating area can be defined as forward biased or reverse biased.
A safe operating area is defined as forward biased when the module is switched on for an inductive load.
At this point, there is a movement of majority and minority carriers due to increased voltage values.
The safe operating area is defined as reverse biased when the transient is switched off.
For this instance, only the minority charge carriers are in motion within the module’s power semiconductors.
This is due to the increased voltage values across the module.
When the IGBT module operates at high current and voltage values for an extended period, the thermal breakdown is imminent.
As a result the module will fail eventually. However, when this occurs over short periods, the breakdown will be avoided.
There is no thermal breakdown because the disseminated power will not be enough to cause a destructive temperature rise.
Avalanche breakdown can occur in this case at values for voltage lower than the rated breakdown voltage.
Does the IGBT Module Block Reverse Voltage?
You find there are two types of power IGBTs.
There is the symmetrical IGBT which can be rigged to conduct voltage in reverse bias.
You also find the asymmetrical IGBT which blocks reverse voltage allowing only a little leakage.
The symmetrical power IGBT can be made to allow reverse voltage and also block it.
However, this makes them unsuitable for applications requiring large voltage ratings.
You find these power IGBTs possess impressive turn-off times with their saturation drop tipping the scale.
Asymmetrical power IGBTs find use in high voltage applications thanks to their reverse voltage blocking.
To allow reverse voltages these power IGBTs have to be used with other semiconductor components. The power diode is such a component.
What are the Advantages of using an IGBT Module?
The IGBT module is preferred for the following reasons.
- The IGBT module has low duty cycles with a simple drive circuit.
- You can operate the IGBT module at high frequency ranges.
- You can operate the IGBT module even when the junction temperatures for the semiconductors are at 100 0
- The resistance exhibited in the module when switched on is very low with the capacity to handle large voltage amounts.
- The IGBT module has fast switching speeds due to the ease of turning on and off by adjusting the gate voltage amount.
- The impressive switching performance is boosted by a reduced switching loss.
- This module type releases low power output when turned on at high voltage or current.
- Fast performance is enabled in an IGBT module due to seamless current drives and low gate drive requirements.
- The conductivity of current by an IGBT module is excellent.
- The semiconductors are voltage controlled with the capability to operate in both forward and reverse bias.
- IGBT modules have a high impedance of inputs.
- Due to its high voltage and current application, the IGBT module has allowed use in applications requiring large power demands.
- With an active safe operating region that is characteristically linear, the IGBT module has enabled use in power amplifiers.
What are some of the Limitations of an IGBT Module?
As an electronic device, the IGBT module is prone to have some limitations in terms of its performance.
The following drawbacks are observed with the IGBT module.
- While the switching speed of the power IGBT is impressive, it still pales in comparison to a power MOSFET.
Its switching speed is negatively impeded by the presence of minority charge carriers.
- The internal construction of the IGBT semiconductors provides a chance for intrusive thyristor latch-up.
This can be attributed to the double pairing of the PN layers.
- When the voltage value in reverse bias is high, the IGBT module components cannot block it.
- The turn off time for the IGBT module is inconveniently high.
- IGBT modules are costly devices.
What are the Types of Power IGBTs used in Modules?
The IGBT modules are based on power IGBT semiconductors that are either symmetrical or asymmetrical.
Also, the points of difference between the two types are the architecture and fabrication methods.
Here, the symmetrical IGBT has similar voltages of value for a breakdown when forward biased or reverse biased.
This IGBT type is commonly applied in AC circuits.
The asymmetrical IGBT semiconductor experiences breakdown at a lower voltage value when reverse biased than for forwarding bias.
It is typically used in circuits for DC where there is no express need for reverse bias.
The asymmetrical IGBT semiconductor is constructed with an extra layer to offer failure protection.
Failure can occur at increased voltage amounts by the action of an increasing depletion area.
The recombination of charge carriers in this layer can dissuade fail current.
What is the Difference between Symmetrical and Asymmetrical IGBT?
You find the following differences between the two power IGBT types used in modules:
- The symmetrical IGBT provides more thermal stability than the asymmetrical IGBT semiconductor.
- With a symmetrical IGBT, the loss when off is insensitive to temperature changes. Asymmetrical IGBTs exhibit increased loss at the turn off with increasing temperature.
- The collector terminal for the symmetrical IGBT is lightly doped with. The doping level of the asymmetrical IGBT’s collector terminal is high.
- The coefficient of temperature when on for a symmetrical IGBT can be described as overly positive.
Besides, the asymmetrical IGBT exhibits indifference to its temperature coefficient when on.
- The asymmetrical IGBT fabrication involves an expensive wafer process of doped n-type material.
Also, the symmetrical IGBT is made through the less complex diffusion process.
- High voltage drop is experienced with the asymmetrical IGBT compared to a low drop in the symmetrical type.
This is attributable to the carrier life of the semiconductors.
- The symmetrical IGBT lacks a buffer layer whose presence in the asymmetrical type allows blocking of lower reverse voltage.
What is IGBT Module Saturation?
Saturation is a term used to describe the IGBT module’s current rating when operational.
When an IGBT is fully operational at the provided ratings, it is said to be saturated.
When it surpasses the maximum allowed current value, it is said to be oversaturated.
In retrospect, desaturation refers to the efforts undertaken to return the IGBT module within its maximum operating current levels.
Desaturation is meant to lower the current at which the oversaturated module is working.
This also reduces the dissipated power amount.
How is the IGBT Die Attached to the Module Package?
Attaching the power IGBTs in an IGBT module should ensure that electrical and thermal conductivity is not interfered with.
The power IGBT die can be attached to the module package through the following ways:
· Adhesive Bond
An adhesive bond can be used at room temperature with no extra tools required.
They have widespread availability with choices for conductivity or non-conductivity.
Adhesives also need time to set and firm the bond.
Solder is used in the soldering process.
Solder is usually a small metal film with a low melting temperature.
It quickly sets and solidifies to form a permanent bond.
Soldering is a common die attachment method for IGBT modules.
They provide a strong bond and are cheaply available.
· Glass Bond
A paste like glass substrate is used in the glass bonding of the IGBT die package.
The pasted is treated at an elevated temperature over the boundary and allowed to cool.
As it cools it firms up the die and package.
How can an IGBT Module Fail?
The IGBT can fail when in an open circuit or when the circuit is shorted. The failure of the module could be attributed to any of the following causes:
Power IGBT Module
- Fatigue that could result from die attachment using solder leads and bond pads.
- Corrosion of the metalized pars that relets in deficiencies in conductivity.
- Electro-migration that could occur due to the metalized parts of the semiconductor IGBTs in the module.
- Adjacent metal surfaces in the module can result in filament formation through conductance.
- Using dielectric layers in the module such as substrate may lead to dielectric breakdown over time.
- Metal traces in the semiconductor parts can result in diffusion voiding which is induced by stress.
What Are Some Design Considerations for an IGBT Module?
The IGBT module is built upon the power IGBT semiconductor.
Also, the IGBT module has varied uses such as a high power switch and a power inverter.
It also finds use in power supplies, motor control drives, amplifiers, and welders.
The following aspect can be used for identifying designs for the IGBT module:
The aspect of functionality answers the question, where are you going to use the IGBT module.
Using the IGBT module as a high power switch will require different structural fabrication than say its use in motor drives.
Achieving your desired IGBT module is pursuant to your intended use for it.
· Maximum Ratings
IGBT modules come in with differing parameter ratings.
Your intended use will need certain current or voltage specifications.
Maximum ratings can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer even for the same use.
In order to achieve desired rating designers for IGBT modules will consider the component configuration in the package.
They can also consider the binding methods for the die to the package and also the method of electrical conductivity.
· Electric and Thermal Considerations
Electrical conductivity and thermal conductivity feature prominently for any power module.
For the IGBT module, the interconnected components need to conduct electrical energy in an efficient manner.
The dissipated power has to be conducted away to prevent stress due to thermal build-up.
What are Bonding Wires in an IGBT Module?
Bonding wires are used to interconnect the power IGBT semiconductors.
These wires provide electrical conduction for the connected components inside the module.
As a characteristic, such wires need to have good electrical conductivity.
Aluminum material is commonly used for bonding wires due to its ability to convey large currents.
Additionally, you find aluminum is cheaply available. Copper and gold also find usage in bonding wires.
While copper has similar conductive properties with aluminum, it costs more than aluminum.
Gold is even more costly but is a better conductor due to its low internal resistance.
It also exhibits stable properties at high frequencies allowing its use in such applications.
You find that the terminals to the semiconductor components and the module are connected by wires.
The wires are conductive, allowing the flow of electric current.
You find aluminum, copper, and gold as the main materials used in the making of these wires.
Does the IGBT Module have the DBC Substrate?
Yes, it has.
The IGBT module is a power module used in high switching applications such as power converters.
It follows that the working of an IGBT module will require both electrical and thermal conductivity.
Electrical conductivity is useful in the IGBT module to connect the power IGBT and other semiconductor components.
Thermal conductivity is important for the elimination of the dissipated heat energy.
The directly bonded copper substrate is a three layer formation of two copper plates and a ceramic layer in between.
Besides, the top copper plate provides electrical conductivity for the bottom half of the semiconductors die.
The ceramic layer provides electrical isolation for the substrate.
This ensures there is no electric charge flow over to the package base.
Ceramic is used due to its high thermal conductivity and poor electrical conductivity.
Aluminum nitride provides the best thermal conductance but is expensive with aluminum oxide offering a cheaper alternative.
The DBC substrate ensures efficient thermal cycling in the IGBT module with its low thermal expansion coefficient.
Heat energy carried away from the top copper plate is collected at the bottom plate.
This plate is connected to a base plate which directs the heat away safely from the IGBT module.
The base plate is connected to a heat sink from where it will be expelled.
Is an IGBT Module Cooled?
Yes, it is.
Cooling is an important process for any power module.
The IGBT module generates heat energy which needs to be eliminated to prevent the thermal stressing of the module.
Thermal stress can be destructive to an IGBT module resulting in failure.
When the heat is conducted to the base plate it is ejected via the heat sink.
To keep the thermal difference between the base plate and heat sink high, cooling methods are necessary.
Cooling ensures the heat sink is free of thermal energy to continue accepting the conducted heat.
Air cooling is a common method for IGBT modules with low heat dissipation levels.
The heat sink is exposed to the atmosphere where natural air currents ferry the heat away.
Also, the process is continuous since airflow occurs naturally.
When natural air cooling is not enough, forced air cooling can be carried out.
Here, a fan is used to expel the heat away from the heat sink.
Liquid cooling can also be used but it involves additional design elements that make it expensive.
Cooling IGBT Module
How does the Voltage Characteristic of an IGBT Module relate to that of Power MOSFETs?
The power IGBT adopts the BJP’s characteristics for it output and the MOSFET’s gate properties.
Besides, the power IGBT has the capacity to conduct large currents while at high voltage values better than MOSFETS.
This is ideally because of the BJT characteristics.
A MOSFET requires the application of a positive voltage value that is greater than the threshold voltage to spur electron movement.
To turn it off, the voltage is reduced below the threshold.
With an IGBT, movement of the negatively charged electrons stirs the positively charged holes.
Movement of both charge carriers causes a substantial increase in conductive ability for the same voltage amount compared to a MOSFET.
Furthermore, it provides the power IGBT with larger current carrying capacity.
Turning-off the power IGBT, like in MOSFETS, results in the restriction of electron movement. However, the positive charged holes remain adrift needing to be recombined in order to remove them.
Where is the Power IGBT used?
The IGBT module finds use in various high power switching applications and as power inverters.
- You find IGBT modules employed in power circuits such as pulse width modulation.
- Power supplies also employ IGBT modules for various modes such as switched mode.
- IGBT modules are used in AC motor control drives and inverters
- DC choppers and inverters for battery source utilize power IGBTs
- High frequency applications with values ranging in tens of kilohertz utilize IGBT modules
- Gradient and sound amplifiers utilize IGBT modules
- You find this module type used in induction heating and arc welding in industries.
Why is the IGBT Module used in Inverters?
The Insulated-Gate Bipolar Transistor module finds use in inverter due to the following:
IGBT module is able to handle large current capacities.
You find the current rating of IGBT modules at the collector in excess of a hundred amperes.
The switching process of the IGBT module is reasonably fast and simply initiated by the gate movement.
Also, the IGBT module shares the gate drive characteristics of the MOSFETS allowing for high input impedance.
The ability to switch faster means lower switching deficiencies.
Lower losses on switching in turn signify high frequency capability.
The ability of an IGBT module to function stably in high frequency applications reduces instances of noise.
IGBT modules also have large voltage applications making them suitable for rectifier applications with either single phase or three phase supplies.
In order for the IGBT module to start, it only requires a small voltage amount above the threshold.
This ensures limited losses related to conduction.
The safe operating area of an IGBT module is large when reversing biased.
This provides a protection mechanism from occurrences of short circuits caused by loads and desaturation.
With the information in this guide, I am sure you can choose a suitable IGBT module for your specific applications.