Infineon and Amber Collaborate on Control of Solid State Electricity in Silicon


Munich-based Infineon Technologies has partnered with California-based Amber Solutions to commercialize semiconductor technology to digitize electricity control in silicon with built-in intelligence.

Applications of Amber’s solid-state technology are expected to include smart circuit breakers, light switches, dimmers and outlets deployed by billions around the world in residential and commercial buildings. Amber provides intelligent power management in a small silicon chip that will be combined with Infineon’s power switch and control technologies.

Infineon’s size and customer base will benefit little Amber, based in Dublin, California. The company has 22 employees and made $ 12 million in investments in 2020-2021, according to CEO and founder Thar Casey. Amber has been working on her solid state technology for four years and has obtained 40 patents.

Infinion, meanwhile, acquired U.S. company Cypress Semiconductor in April 2020, making it the 10th largest semiconductor company in the world with more than $ 10 billion in revenue in fiscal 2020 and 46,000 employees.

Infineon called Amber technology a breakthrough, which could renovate the massive global electrical infrastructure by enabling the replacement of mechanically-based electronic components found in traditional daily light switches and other devices with solid-state digital controls. . Amber technology offers digital control of electricity with a fully silicon-based design for increased reliability and control. Bulky magnetic and mechanical components can be replaced with smaller semiconductor devices to free up space and reduce costs, the two companies said.

Jasco, an electrical products company, has evaluated Amber technology and approved the alliance with Infineon. “We are delighted to see the results of their work in our product categories,” said Mitchel Davis, vice president of connected home at Jasco, in a statement.

The Infineon-Amber alliance is an example that “the solid-state transformation of our electrical products and infrastructure is within reach,” Elizabeth Park, chair of consulting firm Park Associates, said in a statement.

Amber has patented two main technologies. One is an amber AC / DC activator used for AC / DC conversion that does not require high voltage electrolytic or magnetic capacitors. It is capable of producing a regulated low noise DC output of up to 5 watts.

The other is the Indestructible Amber AC Switch, an input voltage independent and scalable switch, built using Infineon’s microcontroller and MOSFETs that are protected against inductive conditions, short circuits, overcurrents. capacitive, overvoltage and overheating. The architecture can be used in alternating current.

An amber silicon based design for one circuit breaker will allow a wireless connected retrofitable circuit breaker that can trip 3,000 times faster than conventional products. It can provide built-in surge protection, wireless reset, energy measurement and more.

The companies said in a statement that “broader product opportunities” could result in the future from coupling Infineon IP with the Amber core technology.

Casey said Fierce electronics Consumer smart thermostats and other smart home devices will be built by several manufacturers based on Amber’s products and released to market in late 2022. The collaboration with Infineon is not exclusive, he said.

“We found a way to completely eliminate the AC to DC brick,” Casey said. “Through semiconductor technology, we have found a way to actually extract direct current from the main alternating current. We [also] found a way to eliminate relays and provide an elegant means of AC switching. Everything we offer with direct AC.

Steve Bakos, senior director of switching power supply at Infineon, said working with Amber offers an exciting market opportunity. “Obsolete technology is waiting to be turned into something of the 21st century,” he said. “Converting an AC to DC source without magnetism is a big deal. It’s a big, exciting market and it’s going to happen.

Casey said other companies are working on similar technologies, but added, “I don’t know of anyone who is working on the global arc of technologies that we have now.” Some are developing solid-state circuit breakers, and Amber met with them to develop future technologies and opportunities.

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