A class of its own: Advanced H2S protection of IGBT modules enhances lifetime

Munich, Germany – 24 June 2020 – Ruggedness determines the longevity and thus the reliability of modules for applications used in harsh environments. In particular the exposure to hydrogen sulfide (H2S) has a critical impact on the lifetime of electronic components. To respond to this threat, Infineon Technologies AG (FSE: IFX / OTCQX: IFNNY) has developed a unique protection feature. EconoPACK™ + modules with a TRENCHSTOP™ IGBT4 chipset are the first of the Econo portfolio featuring this new level of protection for inverters. Harsh environments with critical levels of H2S can be found especially in paper production, mining, wastewater and petrochemical processing as well as in the rubber industry.

H2S is the most critical corrosive contaminant for power semiconductors. During operation, IGBT modules are usually heated up to high temperature levels. This, together with applied voltage and H2S contamination, triggers the growth of crystalline copper sulfide (Cu2S). These conductive structures grow in the trenches of the DCB on the ceramic substrates, and can, at worst, cause short circuits. Due to the premature failure of IGBT modules, the lifetime of an inverter can be significantly reduced. Infineon’s advanced H2S protection blocks hydrogen sulfide entering the module before it can reach sensitive areas. This is not only unique, but also the most effective method.

All electrical, thermal, and mechanical parameters of the module are unchanged, and retain the same properties as the standard modules. The lifetime of systems operating under harsh environmental conditions can thus be extended. To insure this, Infineon has designed a proprietary HV-H2S test to qualify IGBT modules for operation under certain conditions, according to the ISA 71.04-2013 standard. This standard defines four severity levels for contamination effects from “mild (G1)” to “severe (GX).” Infineon’s test covers a wide range of industrial applications, and provides a quantitative approach to assessing the reliability of IGBT modules.

Protected by the H2S technology from Infineon, IGBT modules show no dendrite growth under the defined HV-H2S test conditions. Thus, a lifetime of 20 years can be expected with the upper limit of the ”harsh (G3)” severity level (≤ 2000 Å / 50 ppb) according to ISA 71.04. The EconoPACK+ with the protection feature simply replaces the standard module so that no costly and time-consuming design work is needed. Additionally, companies working with inverter systems can save on extended protection measures such as additional room ventilation, temperature and humidity control in the installation area or even on hermetic cabinets for the inverter.

The EconoPACK+ with advanced H2S protection can be ordered in large quantities in a 300 A and 450 A variant in the 1200 V class, as well as in a 300 A and 500 A variant in the 1700 V class. Samples of the EconoPIM 2 and 3 are also available. More information is available at www.infineon.com/h2s.

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