Samsung Electro-Mechanics Markets First Thin-film Coupled Power Inductor

Samsung Electro-Mechanics will start mass production of coupled power inductors, which feature two power inductors on a single chip. The company aims to expand its high-end product lineup in the future.

Samsung Electro-Mechanics has developed two types of coupled power inductors with low resistance values. The first type is the 2016 size (2.0mm wide and 1.6mm long) and the second type is the 2218 size (2.2mm wide and 1.8mm long).

Thin-film coupled power inductor

Power inductors, referred to as the second MLCC, are core electronic components applied to power circuits. Specifically, they convert electricity from batteries into power required by semiconductors, and stably supply current. These products are mounted near the CPU to provide stable current to the CPU. In particular, the higher the performance of the CPU, the more current it uses. In this case, a power inductor with low power loss is required. Moreover, power inductors consume power based on the resistance value of the coils wound inside – the greater the resistance, the greater the power consumed.

Previously, two power inductors were connected in parallel to reduce the resistance value. However, this design increases the number of components and limits the freedom of circuit design.

Samsung Electro-Mechanics has applied a coupled structure with two coils stacked on top of each other to realize a single chip. Coupled power inductors are one of the most difficult technologies to implement among power inductor products. Issues such as insulation between coils and magnetic field interference are some of the reasons.

Specifically, the coupled power inductor is a thin-film type product formed by electroplating thin coil shapes on a package substrate. It is characterized by superior electrical properties such as insulation (less electromagnetic interference) and resistance value than competing products, which are made by directly winding coils on magnetic materials.

Samsung Electro-Mechanics independently developed a magnetic material with excellent properties and low loss based on the material technology accumulated in MLCC. Then, it applied the photosensitization method (a manufacturing method that uses light to engrave circuits) used in semiconductor package substrate manufacturing. This precisely creates the spacing between the two coils. Also, this minimizes changes in product properties due to the environment.

The power inductor market size is expected to reach approximately US$3.65 billion by 2028, at a CAGR of approximately 9%. The power inductor market is expected to grow steadily centered on high-performance products due to the increasing demand for high-performance and multi-functionalization of electronic devices and the expansion of the automotive industry such as autonomous driving and electric vehicles.

“Power inductors are becoming a key component in differentiating the performance of semiconductors as the demand for higher specifications and higher performance of semiconductors continues,” said Chang Duckhyun, CEO of Samsung Electro-Mechanics.

“Samsung Electro-Mechanics will develop differentiated products based on the world’s best materials and process technologies to become a top-tier tech company leading the power inductor market.”

In December of last year, Samsung Electro-Mechanics implemented an organizational change that elevated the Electronic Component Team in charge of power inductors, to the Electronic Component Business Team. The company is now embarking on a full-scale business expansion.