Jayant Baliga was born in Madras, India, and received his B. He received the M. D degrees from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in and At GE he originated the concept of functional integration of MOS and bipolar physics for power devices. One of his inventions, the insulated gate bipolar transistor IGBT , is under world-wide production for power electronics applications. He also pioneered the concept of merging of PIN and Schottky physics for improving power rectifier performance.
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Last Updated: Jul 28, , Jayant Baliga has a long list of achievements he is justifiably proud of. The first that he mentions is a theory that related the properties of semiconductor materials to the performance of power devices. It was way back in , and this theory resulted in an equation that bears his name, which let engineers predict what would happen if they replaced silicon with other materials. Baliga, then at GE , got a small team to work on gallium arsenide, a material that was well studied at that time.
But the real story was elsewhere, and would make him famous all over the world. It is used widely, from electric cars to household appliances. It won Baliga a set of awards, including the prestigious Global Energy Prize. His name is being mentioned in some science circles as a potential Nobel Prize winner. But his original equation still occupies his mind, as it predicted that a material called silicon carbide will be a hundred times more efficient than silicon.
This material was not well understood then, but things have changed significantly since the s. As the director of the Power Semiconductor Research Centre in North Carolina State University, Baliga is now hard at work at developing silicon carbide devices for commercial applications.
If successful, silicon carbide transistors will kill his own invention of IGBTs. It is not easy to improve them. Then GE sold its semiconductor division, and Baliga had to look for opportunities elsewhere. It is among the largest research parks in the world. As he worked on power devices in the university, Baliga also worked with the material science department to make silicon carbide.
Fortunately for him, a student startup was trying to make silicon carbide wafers, and Baliga bought wafers from them and made power electronics devices. That was in The devices and others that followed became popular, and money started flowing into the field in companies around the world. Commercial products started to enter the market by Baliga continued to work on a programme to drive the costs down. The US government decided that it is important to invest in the area, to make US the manufacturing hub for the next wave of power electronics.
Several institutes and states competed for the government money, but North Carolina won. US president Barack Obama approved the creation of a new institute to manufacture wide band gap semiconductors, flew down to the university to announce it himself two years ago.
Cost-cutting moves The programme started last January. Now Baliga and his colleagues, along with 18 companies, are trying to bring the cost down along the entire chain of manufacturing. He is working with a foundry in Texas that wants to diversify into silicon carbide, which could one day replace IGBTs if they are successful. Silicon carbide switches faster than silicon IGBTs, but the chips cost ten times as much.
Silicon Carbide works at higher temperature than silicon, a property that is very useful in applications. Automobiles are one example. Electronics applications are increasing in the automobile, and some of their uses are hampered by the lack of ability of silicon IGBTs to work above degrees centigrade. Several companies around the world are working on developing the next generation of semiconductors for power electronics, and silicon carbide is only one of the contenders.
It was no different for IGBTs.
Meet Jayant Baliga - the inventor of IGBT who is working to kill his own invention
Jayant Baliga This textbook provides an in-depth treatment of the physics of power semiconductor devices that are commonly used by the power electronics industry. Drawing upon decades of industry and teaching experience and using numerous examples and illustrative applications, the author discusses in detail the various device performance attributes that allow practicing engineers to develop energy-efficient products. Coverage includes all types of power rectifiers and transistors and analytical models for explaining the operation of all power semiconductor devices are developed and demonstrated in each section of the book. Throughout the book, emphasis is placed on deriving simple analytical expressions that describe the underlying physics and enable representation of the device electrical characteristics. This treatment is invaluable for teaching a course on power devices because it allows the operating principles and concepts to be conveyed with quantitative analysis. The treatment focuses on silicon devices but includes the unique attributes and design requirements for emerging silicon carbide devices.
Fundamentals of Power Semiconductor Devices