Dipl.-Ing., Senior Director R&D @ Infineon Technologies Austria AG
1992 TU Graz, Electrical Engineering
1992 – 1995 Siemens Bauelemente OHG, Villach, Product and Process Engineer
1995 – 1997 Siemens Microelectronics Ltd., Newcastle, Project Manager Technology Transfer
1998 – 2010 Infineon Technologies Austria AG, Senior Manager Technology Development
Since 2010 Managing Director of KAI GmbH, a Research Center of Infineon Technologies Austria AG
The increasing relevance of materials science for the power semiconductor industry
From charging a cell phone to powering large data centers all over the world, energy conversion in offshore wind turbines, or in automotive applications, modern power semiconductors are a key technology.
To guarantee that the devices work efficiently and reliably in such diverse applications in often harsh environments, they consist of a complex combination of thin films surrounding the active semiconductor material. Frequently, metallic, polymeric and ceramic thin films of several nm to a few µm thickness can be found in direct contact to each other.
To push the limits of these devices, new materials are constantly being developed and introduced into the market. Some important recent developments are the introduction of wide band gap power semiconductors such as SiC and GaN, as well as thick metallizations as interconnect and heat buffer layers.
The properties of these materials and their integration into a product pose multifold challenges both in manufacturing and in application. In addition, the often high temperatures and harsh environments during application require sophisticated corrosion protection strategies.
To address these challenges a deep understanding of the materials and their interaction is mandatory. This is why a broad range of materials characterization, testing and modelling techniques, ranging from high-end TEM and micromechanical characterization to ab-initio simulation and advanced FE modelling are applied. Using selected examples, the role of materials science to address these topics in power semiconductor industry will be presented.