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news digest ♦ Power Electronics


established a new Industry standard with significant energy and carbon footprint reductions


Cree and Eta Devices will demonstrate what they claim is the world’s most efficient reported power amplifier for mobile base stations at the 2013 Mobile World Congress.


Current generation mobile base station amplifiers employing silicon LDMOS transistors can provide amplifier efficiencies up to 45 percent. By contrast, Eta Devices’ next-generation power amplifiers are able to deliver efficiencies higher than 70 percent under a 4G LTE modulation format, and are thus poised to revolutionise current industry efficiency standards.


“Eta Devices’ next-generation power amplifiers leverage the performance and reliability advantages of Cree’s GaN HEMT RF transistors to realise game-changing efficiency benefits for the mobile base station industry,” says Jim Milligan, business director, Cree RF. “Our transistors have been instrumental in demonstrating Eta Devices’ amplifiers, which perform 50 percent more efficiently than the best incumbent silicon power amplifiers currently available in the 4G LTE market.”


The world’s mobile networks consume approximately 120TWh of electricity per year, and 50-80 percent of these networks’ power is consumed by their power amplifiers and associated components. Implementing Eta Devices’ new power amplifier solution on a global level could save mobile operators 60TWh of energy per year, which is equivalent to the amount of power produced by more than seven average-sized American nuclear power plants. It could also save up to 50 percent of the $36.5 billion spent to power mobile base stations each year.


“Mobile operators gain dramatic advantages by adopting our new technology,”comments Mattias Astrom, CEO of Eta Devices. “In addition to cost savings, our power amplifiers provide operators with a significantly reduced carbon footprint, which contributes to a more sustainable planet. In fact, if implemented on a global basis, our solution would reduce carbon emissions by approximately 36 million tons per year, which is equivalent to eliminating the annual greenhouse gas emissions produced by 7 million cars.”


Fabless semiconductor company, Eta Devices Inc. is headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts with an R&D office in Stockholm, Sweden.


Its disruptive technology solves the key power challenges in the mobile communications industry. In base stations, this leads to significantly reduced power consumption and smaller cabinets. For handsets, battery life is considerably increased and multiband communications can be enabled at a fraction of the cost and footprint; this makes it possible to use the same handset model all over the world.


Cree shares downgraded


The firm’s shares fell 0.39 percent to trade at $45.54 on Tuesday. Over the past year, the stock has been trading between $22.25 and $46.88


Cree shares were downgraded to “perform” from “outperform” by Oppenheimer based on valuation.


The brokerage, which removed price target of $42 on the stock, believes now is a good time to take money off the table.


“Cree currently trades at a 35x forward P/E multiple, a two-year high. Although we believe in the technology advantage of Cree and the long-term growth prospects of the LED lighting market, the near term may not be “all clear” to support such lofty valuation,” Oppenheimer says.


The brokerage believes the stock could continue to rally over the next 3-6 months as immediate headwinds seem overblown, China orders pick up following the New Year, and spring ushers in more favourable weather for municipal and new commercial lighting.


“However, visibility remains limited and longer term competitive dynamics linger; to us, risk/reward looks balanced,” Oppenheimer adds.


“Cree is still our favourite name in the LED supply chain, but valuation prompts us to take a more conservative stance and wait for a better entry point,” the brokerage writes.


Cree’s shift to a fixture business, and its component business fighting the commodity bug, each present unique challenges over the long haul. The brokerage sees Cree as ultimately being successful, but also don’t see the risk these challenges present priced into the stock.


Henkel optimises metal and heatsink connection in power devices


Henkel has developed a new type of paste with enhanced thermal conductivity for power modules such as those based on gallium nitride and silicon carbide. It allows a higher power density for the same ageing resistance


Power electronics are experiencing a continuous rise in their power densities. As a result, thermal management for today’s power semiconductors must be integrated as early as their design phase.


Only then can reliable cooling be safeguarded over the long term. A particularly important role is assigned to thermal conduction at the link between the component and the heat sink. In these cases, materials are often used that cannot meet the growing requirements.


In its search for a remedy, Infineon Technologies AG has incorporated a TIM material solution from Henkel Electronic


118 www.compoundsemiconductor.net March 2013


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