Microchips: Performance Leap Thanks to Gallium
August 2022 | News
The Bosch Technology Group is advancing the development of semiconductor technology. Technology metals will play an important part in the future: Gallium nitride as a semiconductor material is expected to make microchips even smaller and more powerful.
Three Billion Euros for Research on Strategic Metals
Bosch is focusing on semiconductor materials such as gallium nitride in developing its next generation of microchips, as the conglomerate announced in a recent press release. The company plans to invest around three billion euros in research and further development of this semiconductor technology, which is regarded as particularly promising, by 2026. Semiconductor technology plays a decisive role in the development of future drive systems. This is because, in contrast to internal combustion vehicles, electric cars require significantly more power electronics. Therefore, more microchips and semiconductor components are needed, including for touchscreens and LEDs.
Microchips with Gallium for Modern Power Electronics in Vehicles
Presently, Bosch relies on silicon carbide chips for chip production for automotive power electronics, which are repeatedly subject to supply bottlenecks. To meet the growing demand for chips and increase supply reliability, the automotive supplier intends to continue research into new semiconductor technologies and alternative materials. To this end, the use of gallium as gallium nitride (GaN) is being examined. One benefit is that metal technology could help make microchips more cost-effective and powerful. In addition, the technology metal increases the robustness of chips and their ability to withstand high voltages. In electric car electronics, these can be as high as 12,000 volts.
GaN-based chips are already used in computers and mobile devices. They ensure short charging times and take up significantly less space than conventional silicon-based components. Production of the new semiconductor technology is to start at a new plant in Dresden (Germany). Most of the plant produces semiconductors and microchips for Bosch’s automotive supplier division.
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