Power integrated circuits and integrated power electronic modules

Power integrated circuits and integrated power electronic modules

Since the mid to late 1980s, modularity has become a trend in the research and development of power electronic devices. Modularization is to package multiple identical power electronic devices or multiple different power electronic devices in conjunction with each other in a module according to the topology required by a typical power electronic circuit, which can reduce the size of the device, reduce costs, and improve reliability. More importantly, circuits with higher operating frequencies can also greatly reduce line inductance, thereby simplifying the requirements for protection and snubber circuits. This kind of module is called a power module, or named after the name of the main device, such as IGBT module, MOSFET module.

If power electronic devices and information electronic circuits such as logic, control, protection, sensing, detection, and self-diagnosis are made on the same chip, it is called Power Integrated Circuit (PIC). At present, its power is relatively high, but it represents an important direction for the development of power electronics technology.

Among the power integrated circuits, depending on the application and structure, there are high-voltage integrated circuits, smart power integrated circuits, and smart power modules. High Voltage Integrated Circuit (HVIC) refers to the monolithic integration of horizontal high voltage devices and logic or analog control circuits. Smart Power Integrated Circuit (SPIC) refers to the monolithic integration of vertical power devices and logic or analog control circuits.

Intelligent Power Module (IPM) refers specifically to the monolithic integration of IGBT and its auxiliary devices with its protection and drive circuits, also known as Intelligent IGBT module. The IPM structure block diagram is shown as in Figure 1.

Power integrated circuits and integrated power electronic modules
Figure 1 – IPM structure block diagram

The main difficulty in the manufacture of power integrated circuits lies in the insulation problems between the high and low voltage circuits on the same chip and the effective treatment of temperature rise and heat dissipation. Therefore, the current research, development, and actual product application of power integrated circuits are mainly concentrated in low-power applications, such as portable electronic equipment, household appliances, and office equipment power lights. Intelligent power modules have largely avoided these two difficulties, and have developed rapidly in recent years.

Power electronic integration technology reduces the size of the device, improves the reliability, makes it more convenient for users to use, and greatly reduces the cost of manufacturing, installation and maintenance. It also realizes the integration of electrical energy and information, becoming an ideal interface for mechatronics, and has broad application prospects.