Electric Field Enhancement Control in Active Junction of IGBT Power Module


Dielectric liquids are incompressible, able to fill voids and have self-healing effect and hence are being considered as alternative encapsulation materials to establish power electronics at ambient high pressure at subsea conditions. In a long-term endurance test, insulated-gate bipolar transistor (IGBT) chips subjected to 6.5 kV DC stress in dielectric oil environment was reported to have failed after less than one week in operation. A critical look at the failed objects revealed contamination fibres at the surface and around the high field regions. This paper presents the numerical simulation of field distribution around a conducting fibre at the surface of the IGBT chip. It also evaluates the influence of the nature of the encapsulation material on the integrity of power electronic modules using a long-term experiment at a medium elevated temperature for high and low relative humidity operated close to service load using IGBT relevant chips. Finite element method (FEM) calculations show how the high field region can be shielded from impurities that can easily trigger partial discharge (PD) and breakdown. The simulation suggests that coating the surface of the module with a thin polymer layer with a thickness of 20 μm or more could be sufficient to improve the reliability of the encapsulation system. Additional polymer coat with thickness 27 μm on the chip made the system survive without failure for 67 weeks under test and dry operating condition. Meanwhile, thick coating such as silicone gel protected the object longer under higher relative humidity.