Dr. Peter Wawer brings insights from a distinguished career that has touched three unique major semiconductor technologies: silicon photovoltaics, embedded Flash, and now wide bandgap semiconductors for power electronics.
Engineering careers, even very successful ones, don’t always progress in a nice orderly manner. In this episode of Moore’s Lobby, Peter Wawer, Division President of Green Industrial Power at Infineon Technologies, retraces a fascinating technical and business career that is still going strong.
As a second-generation electrical engineer, the industry still excites him. Wawer says that electrical engineering is “a fascinating topic” that allows you to “innovate and develop things to the greater good.” In his encouragement to the next generation of engineers, he states that “it's very rewarding tackling the issues and the challenges that we face” in society today.
Over the last decade, he has worked in power electronics at Infineon as they have invested and developed wide bandgap technology to serve important industries that are shaping our world: renewable energy, electrification, data centers, and more.
High-power semiconductors from Infineon impact multiple markets. Image used courtesy of Infineon
In addition to his extensive work on multiple leading-edge technologies, Wawer has been inside just about every corporate transition you can imagine. These have ranged from spinoffs and billion-dollar acquisitions to bankruptcy and government-rejected purchases.
When discussing major spinoffs like the creation of Infineon from Siemens, Wawer describes the “mixed” feelings within the company. Some view the larger company “as an advantage” by providing “more critical mass and more diversity.” While others see the benefits of a smaller company “being more focused.”
Wawer got started in the nascent silicon PV industry during his graduate studies and early career at Siemens. Then, after a number of years working on embedded Flash, he moved back into the solar industry; a time that he describes as “big fun” with the industry really beginning to take off.
In this Moore’s Lobby conversation with host Daniel Bogdanoff, Peter Wawer also discusses:
- The history and differences between thin-film and thick-film solar
- Why different semiconductor memory technologies—DRAM and flash—are not fabricated in the same fabs
- Unique characteristics of trench and planar silicon carbide MOSFETs
- The performance and reliability challenges that impact power electronics beyond just the semiconductors
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Meet Peter Wawer
Peter Wawer has been Division President of Green Industrial Power at Infineon Technologies since 2016.
He began his career at Siemens working on photovoltaic technology. When Infineon was created out of Siemens, he was a technology development engineer working on embedded Flash CMOS. He held many positions in the flash memory division, culminating as the Vice President and Managing Director at Qimonda Flash (a memory spinoff from Infineon).
Peter then jumped back into the solar industry with Q-Cells where he held senior VP positions overseeing both technology and production. In 2012 he rejoined Infineon, where he has worked on power electronics technology ever since.
Peter studied electrical engineering at the Technical University of Berlin, where he received his PhD in 1997 after studying the Optimization and Characterization of Thin, Crystalline Solar Cells.