Hidden inside nearly every modern electronic is a technology -- called power electronics -- that is quietly making our world run. Yet, as things like our phones, appliances and cars advance, current power electronics will no longer be able to meet our needs, making it essential that we invest in the future of this technology.
Integral to consumer electronics and many clean energy technologies, power electronics can be found in everything from electric vehicles and industrial motors, to laptop power adaptors and inverters that connect solar panels and wind turbines to the electric grid. For nearly 50 years, silicon chips have been the basis of power electronics. However, as clean energy technologies and the electronics industry has advanced, silicon chips are reaching their limits in power conversion -- resulting in wasted heat and higher energy consumption.
Power electronics that use WBG semiconductors have the potential to change all this. WBG semiconductors operate at high temperatures, frequencies and voltages -- all helping to eliminate up to 90 percent of the power losses in electricity conversion compared to current technology. This in turn means that power electronics can be smaller because they need fewer semiconductor chips, and the technologies that rely on power electronics -- like electric vehicle chargers, consumer appliances and LEDs -- will perform better, be more efficient and cost less.
One of three new institutes in the President's National Network of Manufacturing Innovation, the
Watch our latest video on how wide bandgap semiconductors could impact clean energy technology and our daily lives.
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