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Title: Wide-Bandgap Semiconductors

Abstract

With the increase in demand for more efficient, higher-power, and higher-temperature operation of power converters, design engineers face the challenge of increasing the efficiency and power density of converters [1, 2]. Development in power semiconductors is vital for achieving the design goals set by the industry. Silicon (Si) power devices have reached their theoretical limits in terms of higher-temperature and higher-power operation by virtue of the physical properties of the material. To overcome these limitations, research has focused on wide-bandgap materials such as silicon carbide (SiC), gallium nitride (GaN), and diamond because of their superior material advantages such as large bandgap, high thermal conductivity, and high critical breakdown field strength. Diamond is the ultimate material for power devices because of its greater than tenfold improvement in electrical properties compared with silicon; however, it is more suited for higher-voltage (grid level) higher-power applications based on the intrinsic properties of the material [3]. GaN and SiC power devices have similar performance improvements over Si power devices. GaN performs only slightly better than SiC. Both SiC and GaN have processing issues that need to be resolved before they can seriously challenge Si power devices; however, SiC is at a more technically advanced stagemore » than GaN. SiC is considered to be the best transition material for future power devices before high-power diamond device technology matures. Since SiC power devices have lower losses than Si devices, SiC-based power converters are more efficient. With the high-temperature operation capability of SiC, thermal management requirements are reduced; therefore, a smaller heat sink would be sufficient. In addition, since SiC power devices can be switched at higher frequencies, smaller passive components are required in power converters. Smaller heat sinks and passive components result in higher-power-density power converters. With the advent of the use of SiC devices it is imperative that models of these be made available in commercial simulators. This enables power electronic designers to simulate their designs for various test conditions prior to fabrication. To build an accurate transistor-level model of a power electronic system such as an inverter, the first step is to characterize the semiconductor devices that are present in the system. Suitable test beds need to be built for each device to precisely test the devices and obtain relevant data that can be used for modeling. This includes careful characterization of the parasitic elements so as to emulate the test setup as closely as possible in simulations. This report is arranged as follows: Chapter 2--The testing and characterization of several diodes and power switches is presented. Chapter 3--A 55-kW hybrid inverter (Si insulated gate bipolar transistor--SiC Schottky diodes) device models and test results are presented. A detailed description of the various test setups followed by the parameter extraction, modeling, and simulation study of the inverter performance is presented. Chapter 4--A 7.5-kW all-SiC inverter (SiC junction field effect transistors (JFET)--SiC Schottky diodes) was built and tested. The models built in Saber were validated using the test data and the models were used in system applications in the Saber simulator. The simulation results and a comparison of the data from the prototype tests are discussed in this chapter. Chapter 5--The duration test results of devices utilized in buck converters undergoing reliability testing are presented.« less

Authors:
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
886008
Report Number(s):
ORNL/TM-2005/214
TRN: US200617%%312
DOE Contract Number:  
DE-AC05-00OR22725
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
42 ENGINEERING; ELECTRICAL PROPERTIES; FIELD EFFECT TRANSISTORS; GALLIUM NITRIDES; HEAT SINKS; INVERTERS; PHYSICAL PROPERTIES; POWER DENSITY; SEMICONDUCTOR DEVICES; SILICON CARBIDES; THERMAL CONDUCTIVITY

Citation Formats

Chinthavali, M S. Wide-Bandgap Semiconductors. United States: N. p., 2005. Web. doi:10.2172/886008.
Chinthavali, M S. Wide-Bandgap Semiconductors. United States. doi:10.2172/886008.
Chinthavali, M S. Tue . "Wide-Bandgap Semiconductors". United States. doi:10.2172/886008. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/886008.
@article{osti_886008,
title = {Wide-Bandgap Semiconductors},
author = {Chinthavali, M S},
abstractNote = {With the increase in demand for more efficient, higher-power, and higher-temperature operation of power converters, design engineers face the challenge of increasing the efficiency and power density of converters [1, 2]. Development in power semiconductors is vital for achieving the design goals set by the industry. Silicon (Si) power devices have reached their theoretical limits in terms of higher-temperature and higher-power operation by virtue of the physical properties of the material. To overcome these limitations, research has focused on wide-bandgap materials such as silicon carbide (SiC), gallium nitride (GaN), and diamond because of their superior material advantages such as large bandgap, high thermal conductivity, and high critical breakdown field strength. Diamond is the ultimate material for power devices because of its greater than tenfold improvement in electrical properties compared with silicon; however, it is more suited for higher-voltage (grid level) higher-power applications based on the intrinsic properties of the material [3]. GaN and SiC power devices have similar performance improvements over Si power devices. GaN performs only slightly better than SiC. Both SiC and GaN have processing issues that need to be resolved before they can seriously challenge Si power devices; however, SiC is at a more technically advanced stage than GaN. SiC is considered to be the best transition material for future power devices before high-power diamond device technology matures. Since SiC power devices have lower losses than Si devices, SiC-based power converters are more efficient. With the high-temperature operation capability of SiC, thermal management requirements are reduced; therefore, a smaller heat sink would be sufficient. In addition, since SiC power devices can be switched at higher frequencies, smaller passive components are required in power converters. Smaller heat sinks and passive components result in higher-power-density power converters. With the advent of the use of SiC devices it is imperative that models of these be made available in commercial simulators. This enables power electronic designers to simulate their designs for various test conditions prior to fabrication. To build an accurate transistor-level model of a power electronic system such as an inverter, the first step is to characterize the semiconductor devices that are present in the system. Suitable test beds need to be built for each device to precisely test the devices and obtain relevant data that can be used for modeling. This includes careful characterization of the parasitic elements so as to emulate the test setup as closely as possible in simulations. This report is arranged as follows: Chapter 2--The testing and characterization of several diodes and power switches is presented. Chapter 3--A 55-kW hybrid inverter (Si insulated gate bipolar transistor--SiC Schottky diodes) device models and test results are presented. A detailed description of the various test setups followed by the parameter extraction, modeling, and simulation study of the inverter performance is presented. Chapter 4--A 7.5-kW all-SiC inverter (SiC junction field effect transistors (JFET)--SiC Schottky diodes) was built and tested. The models built in Saber were validated using the test data and the models were used in system applications in the Saber simulator. The simulation results and a comparison of the data from the prototype tests are discussed in this chapter. Chapter 5--The duration test results of devices utilized in buck converters undergoing reliability testing are presented.},
doi = {10.2172/886008},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {2005},
month = {11}
}

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