Silicon carbide (SiC) power semiconductors are surging in adoption, particularly in hybrid and electric vehicles, and for good reasons. Users of SiC in high-power switching applications (600 V or more) reap the benefits of smaller size, lighter weight, and lower overall costs. Even more importantly, SiC offers improved system efficiency, high power density, and high temperature stability.
With an eye toward capturing its share of what’s forecast as a $10 billion market by 2027, Microchip Technology is shaping up its SiC power semiconductor offerings to address the growing demand for these devices.
Microchip Technology’s SiC product portfolio spans discrete, die-level, and modular-packaged devices, with an emphasis on delivering a total system solution that covers control, drive, and power applications. Included in the latest offering are SiC Schottky barrier diode-based modules rated for 700, 1200, and 1700 V; the module topologies include dual diode, full bridge, phase leg, dual common cathode, and 3-phase bridge.
Within the modules are the newest generation of Microchip’s SiC die, which maximize system reliability and ruggedness for long, stable service life. The devices’ high avalanche performance reduces the need for snubber circuits, while their body diode stability allow designs to use the internal body diode without long-term degradation.
To help designers get going on SiC-based, system-level solutions, the company has announced reference designs and evaluation kits. One example is a 30-kW, 3-phase front end for a charging station application that uses 1200-V SiC Schottkys and 700-V SiC MOSFETs (Figure 1). These reference designs and boards give system developers tools with which to reduce development cycle times. Also available are SPICE models and an SiC driver board reference design.
Another element of the overall system-level solution is the company’s AgileSwitch digital programmable gate drivers, which provide reliable and efficient control of SiC MOSFETs. Standard analog gate drive implementations often suffer from varying degrees of ringing, overshoot, and undershoot. AgileSwitch gate drivers use a technique the company calls augmented switching. Using software programming that defines the amount of time spent in turn-on, plateau, and turn-off, the devices reduce VDS overshoot by up to 80%, cut switching losses by up to 50%, and provide robust and fast short-circuit protection. As a result, gate-drive implementations won’t cause false faults, mitigate ringing, and reduce EMI.
Microchip’s 700-, 1200-, and 1700-V SiC power modules are available now.
Microchip Technology, http://www.microchip.com/sic