Industrial Internet of Things (IoT)

Optimization of power module electrical layout

BSc / MSc

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Optimization of power module electrical layout

Context

Prodrive technologies is a developer and manufacturer of world-class electronics. It comprises over 1300 employees and is one of the fastest growing companies in Europe. Our organization is based on two groups: Development and Operations. The Development department is oriented at developing first-rate electronic, mechanic and software solutions. The operations department is responsible for production, assembly, testing and life-cycle-management of electronic products and systems in the range of 1 to more than a million pieces per year.

Within Prodrive, numerous products incorporate power modules and discrete semiconductor devices. These modules package power semiconductors and are often off-the-shelf products which are not typically optimized for thermal performance. In line with Prodrive’s ‘vertical integration’ way of working, we have started developing our own customised power module designs.

One of the electrical optimizations Prodrive-Technologies aims to make is to design a power module that incorporates SiC or GaN semiconductor devices to allow high speed operation, lower power dissipation, improved temperature withstand capability and lower cooling requirements. This allows further system miniaturisation and product cost-optimization.
In order to use the full potential that these semiconductor devices can offer, while still maintaining reliability, the package needs to be optimized since the package becomes the main influencing factor for high frequency switching. Parasitic effects of the electrical connections inside and outside the module layout cannot be neglected anymore and need to be controlled. In case these phenomena are insufficiently addressed, high switching losses, accelerated breakdown due to electrical overstress or excessive EMI can occur.

To mitigate the parasitic effects several developments have been ongoing in recent years; integration of so called 3D-leadframes, the integration of discrete or passive components and planar layout optimization. High speed switching also brings several challenges in device paralleling, since current balancing in both steady-state and transient operation need to be considered.
In order to deal with these challenges and to optimize the electrical layout of the module it is required to model the parasitic effects individually or by lumped element to acquire insight for layout optimization or component integration. Several well-known numerical calculation methods and finite element method simulation tools could be employed. The disadvantage of these tools is that they cannot offer sufficient accuracy and flexibility for electrical optimization of a power module at high speed operation and require often a lot of computation time. A new approach for simulating electromagnetic structures or problems is by using a Partial Element Equivalent Circuit (PEEC) method. This method allows the simulation of complex power module geometries, including inductive and capacitive effects and the integration of passives as well.

Assignment

Develop a numerical model module electrical layout optimization.

Deliverables

  • Familiarize with the PEEC EM simulation method and offer a comprehensive assessment of a standard off-the-shelf All-SiC power module. Explore all features (e.g. meshing, calculation routine) and acquire a list of requirements to accurately describe a power module. Identify technical limitations of the power module and develop a list of design recommendations.
  • Demonstrate and proof by experimental verification that the developed model matches with the reality for the off-the-shelf All-SiC power module. Identify the limitations of the PEEC method.
  • Develop a power module design optimized for electromagnetic performance incorporating at least the following features:
    • Integrated decoupling capacitor
    • Integrated gate driver
    • Integrated capacitive shield 
  • Show the differences.

 

Important note: all our graduation assignments are dependent on time. Please see them as an example of the many great things you can do at Prodrive Technologies. If you have the same passion for technology as we do, we always have an assignment for you!

 

Benefits as a student

Next to the benefits which are true for every Prodriver that are listed below, some special benefits must be highlighted for students. First of all you will be treated as a real Prodriver. Your opinion and ideas will be heard and treated as full. Next to this you will get the chance to work with colleagues with a very high level of knowledge in their field and get the chance to use our world class lab and production facilities for your graduation assignment.

Your Benefits

When you are able to prove that you are the perfect fit for our job, you will be rewarded in many ways: you will get the chance to develop yourself as a person, gain extensive knowledge and develop your career in multiple directions. Your development will be guaranteed by your personal development plan which will be reviewed regularly. Besides that, you will – naturally – be offered a market competitive salary and outstanding secondary conditions. Your salary growth is in line with your own professional development so it can grow fast and you will even get the opportunity to become a shareholder. All this at an employer that has achieved an average annual growth of 25% over the last 20 years! 

Organisation

There are only few companies in the world of technology which stand out. According to our customers Prodrive Technologies is one of them. Our company was founded in 1993 by technical professionals from the Eindhoven University of Technology. Since then every year Prodrive Technologies has shown a steep growth rate due to a very successful business concept in a young and dynamic organization (average age 28 years). Currently the total Prodrive Technologies organization consists of over 1.300 (1.100 FTE) employees which are highly skilled, highly motivated and focused on results.

 

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