Share Africa's rich heritage and cultures expressed through music, song, dance, and movement and win great prizes! Find out more Power semiconductor device From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia A power semiconductor device is a semiconductor device used as a switch or rectifier in power electronics ; a switch-mode power supply is an example. Such a device is also called a power device or, when used in an integrated circuit , a power IC . A power semiconductor device is usually used in "commutation mode" (i.e., it is either on or off), and therefore has a design optimized for such usage; it should usually not be used in linear operation. Contents 1 History 2 Common devices 3 Classifications o 3.1 Diodes o 3.2 Switches 4 Parameters 5 Research and development o 5.1 Packaging
o 5.2 Improvement of structures o 5.3 Wide band-gap semiconductors 6 See also 7 Notes and references o 7.1 Notes o 7.2 References 8 External links History The first power semiconductor device appeared in 1952 with the introduction of the power diode by R.N. Hall . It was made of germanium and had a reverse voltage blocking capability of 200 V and a current rating of 35 A . The thyristor appeared in 1957. It is able to withstand very high reverse breakdown voltage and is also capable of carrying high current. However, one disadvantage of the thyristor in switching circuits is that once it becomes 'latched-on' in the conducting state; it cannot be turned off by external control, as the thyristor turn-off is passive, i.e., the power must be disconnected from the device. Thyristors which could be turned off, called gate turn-off thyristors (GTO), were introduced in 1960.  These overcome some limitations of the ordinary thyristor, because they can be turned on or off with an applied signal. The first bipolar transistor device with substantial power handling capabilities was introduced in the 1948 by William Shockley. Due to improvements in the MOSFET technology (metal oxide semiconductor technology, initially developed to produce integrated circuits ), the power MOSFET became available in the late 1970s. International Rectifier introduced a 25 A, 400 V power MOSFET in 1978.  This device allows operation at higher frequencies than a bipolar transistor, but is limited to low voltage applications. The Insulated-gate bipolar transistor (IGBT) was developed in the 1980s, and became widely available in the 1990s. This component has the power handling capability of the bipolar transistor and the advantages of the isolated gate drive of the power MOSFET. Common devices Some common power devices are the power diode , thyristor , power MOSFET , and IGBT . The power diode and power MOSFET operate on similar principles to their low-power counterparts,
but are able to carry a larger amount of current and are typically able to support a larger reverse- bias voltage in the off-state .
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