Cambridge GaN Devices & IFP Energies nouvelles sign automotive inverter development deal

13 December 2022

French public R&I (research & innovation) organisation to use CGD’s GaN HEMTs in innovative, next-gen automotive inverter design.

Cambridge GaN Devices (CGD), the fabless, clean-tech semiconductor company that develops a range of energy-efficient GaN-based power devices to make greener electronics possible, has signed an agreement with IFP Energies nouvelles (IFPEN), a major French public research & training organisation in the fields of energy, transport & the environment, to develop an innovative automotive inverter using advanced GaN devices.

Dr Giorgia Longobardi, co-founder & CEO, CGD said: “Technological innovation is central to all IFPEN’s activities. Therefore we are particularly excited that IFPEN has chosen CGD’s ICeGaN™ GaN HEMTs (gallium nitride high-electron-mobility transistors) in this new automotive inverter design. IFPEN also shares CGD’s belief that close partnerships with key players are essential to the success of any project, so we are proud to be part of this programme.

Gaëtan Monnier, Mobility BU Director, IFPEN added: “This partnership with CGD is a key element for our future activities in power electronics for e-mobility, specifically for next generation of inverters, where a technological step is required to reduce size and increase power density levels, while challenging the cost. We count on the cooperation with this young and dynamic extremely innovative company to address the ambitious challenges critical to the future of e-mobility industries.

The partnership between IFPEN and CGD combines two highly complementary areas of expertise. IFPEN understands the automotive market and its performance targets, and possesses a strong position in inverter and software development, with in-depth knowledge of the algorithms and equipment required.

CGD’s GaN technology has resulted in industry’s first easy-to-use and scalable 650 V GaN HEMT family. The company’s ICeGaN™ H1 series are single-chip eMode HEMT devices that can be driven like a MOSFET, without the need for special gate drivers, complex and lossy driving circuits, negative voltage supply requirements or additional clamping components.

ICeGaN HEMTs require no cascode structure, no complex multi-chip configurations and no thermally-complex integrated solutions. Instead, they are a single-chip solution with embedded proprietary logic which enables the coupling with standard gate drivers or controllers. Devices are extremely reliable, suitable for demanding application environments, as found in the automotive market.

IFP Energies nouvelles (IFPEN) is a major research & training player in the fields of energy, transport and the environment. From scientific concepts within the framework of fundamental research, through to technological solutions in the context of applied research, innovation is central to its activities, hinged around four strategic directions: climate, environment & circular economy; renewable energies; sustainable mobility; and responsible oil & gas.

The aim of IFPEN’s R&I (research & innovation) programmes is to overcome existing scientific and technological challenges in order to develop innovations that can be used by industry. IFPEN has developed, since 20 years, a strong expertise in the field of vehicle electrification. More than 45 patents have been deposited in the fields of electrical motors design, advanced control laws and optimised power electrics systems for traction and energy generation & recovery. In the field of sustainable mobility, power electronics is a key factor for automotive electric powertrains and IFPEN know-how covers the development domains from specification to operational validation tests on the electric motors.

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