To tackle the energy challenges detailed hereafter, ISGE research team has focused its scientific approaches on the integration of systems enabling a function of electrical power conversion both efficient and reliable. These studies are carried out in LAAS technology Platform to implement 3D approaches issued from advanced microtechnologies (trenches, double-side lithography…) and introduce new materials, either into the silicon process (magnetic materials, high-K dielectrics, BCB), or as the starting semiconductor material (GaN, diamond). To this aim, the research activities are organized in five topics that are complementary and strongly interdependent:

One of the big challenges that our society will have to face over the next decade is related to energy issues. Worldwide, most of the energy is consumed into transports and buildings, both residential and industrial, thus resulting in a significant increase of CO2 emissions and in global warming. The majority of this energy is generated by non-renewable and non-environmentally friendly coal, fossil fuel and natural gas.

In the objective of a sustainable development, the widespread of alternative energy sources in transportation and buildings is the solution that will require a major paradigm shift in the power industry:

  • Transports will have to become more electrically driven thus demanding for new generations of power devices and converters.
  • For a large penetration of renewable energies, it is more appropriate to move from a centralized generation approach to a distributed one.

This energy “revolution” results in major changes of the end-users market: changeover to hybrid and electrical traction for surface and air transports, coupling of renewable energies to the power grid, generalization of motorized systems in the home, introduction of low-voltage lighting and “building-transport” convergence. These evolutions require an efficient management of the energy resources, its storage and its use, strongly depending on the performance of integrated power devices and systems. In addition to the improvement of the conversion efficiency of such systems, other important challenges are the required miniaturization, the evolution towards intelligent and autonomous power systems, with an increased reliability and robustness.

Moreover, the advances of microtechnologies allow a drastic miniaturization of systems for power generation and management, thus increasing the autonomy of embedded systems and making possible the dissemination of wireless sensor networks in a large variety of applications so called “ambient intelligence”. This last objective requires, on the one hand, the development of innovative approaches for energy harvesting coupled to low-power converters and on the other hand, the integration of high density storage devices.