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Addressing SiC & GaN T&M concerns at PCIM 2024

11th June 2024
Harry Fowle
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As PCIM 2024 kicks off, addressing SiC & GaN test & measurement (T&M) concerns is one of the many topics taking centre stage, with companies like Rohde & Schwarz revealing new products that address these problems.

Whilst SiC and GaN advancements have been great for improving efficiencies, especially in high power applications, like any good solution, it comes with its own set of problems. For example, high switching speeds in SiC and GaN applications, can cause rapid voltage and current transitions. These fast transitions can lead to several signal integrity issues. Additionally, the high switching speeds in SiC and GaN devices generate significant EMI, which can affect the performance of nearby electronic systems and require compliance with stringent regulatory standards. As highlighted by Dr. Philipp Weigell, VP of Market Segment Industry, Components, Research & Universities at Rohde & Schwarz: “We are going from single-digit KHz switch rates, to now dealing with 100’s of KHz or even into the MHz range, and this comes with its own set of problems.”

The importance of T&M

Test and measurement applications are crucial for addressing signal integrity and EMI issues in high-speed SiC and GaN applications. Tools such as oscilloscopes, time domain reflectometry, and vector network analyzers help identify and analyse signal integrity problems like reflections, crosstalk, and ground bounce. EMI receivers, spectrum analyzers, and near-field probes are essential for detecting and mitigating electromagnetic interference, ensuring compliance with regulatory standards and reliable performance. These measurements provide critical insights, allowing engineers to implement effective design modifications and mitigation strategies to enhance overall system robustness.

Rohde & Schwarz solutions

At the Rohde & Schwarz booth 619 in Hall 7 of PCIM Europe in Nuremberg, Weigell spoke us through the company’s new power electronics testing solutions, including the new MXO 5 and MXO 5C oscilloscopes. These eight-channel devices, feature the MXO-EP processing ASIC, capable of a real-time acquisition rate of 4.5 million curves per second. The MXO 5C, a compact version ideal for rack installation, supports simultaneous real-time acquisition on four channels, with a total processing power of 18 million curves per second. These oscilloscopes use an 18-bit HD architecture for precise measurements, making them invaluable for inverter design and gate driver signal characterisation. Also on display were solutions for high common-mode voltage measurements and a live demo on how to perform accurate, reliable double pulse tests with next-gen instruments was on offer. Additionally, the R&S RTO6 oscilloscope, with advanced FFT features, was on display, demonstrating effective EMI troubleshooting and filter design for automotive DC/DC converters within the SiC and GaN range.

R&S also had its RT-ZISO on display, designed for highly accurate measurements of fast-switching signals, particularly in environments with high common-mode voltages and currents. Additionally, the new R&S RT-ZPMMCX passive probe with an MMCX connector complements the insulated probe system for specific measurement tasks.

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