GeneSiC Semiconductor: Faster Switching Capabilities with Silicon Carbide

Date:   Friday , April 01, 2016

From high voltage regulators to electric engines, it is a necessity for any machine to have electronic components handling power ranging in KWatts or more. Power electronics fulfills the necessity, but using pure silicon for electronic components will result in anomalous behavior of the machine-reducing the machine\'s capabilities and performance. Unadulterated silicon satisfies most of the current needs of electronics but its chemical properties restrict its performance under high temperatures and voltages. To ensure appropriate working of the component under these conditions, GeneSiC Semiconductor provides silicon carbide (SiC)based products. \'We are working on next generation Silicon Carbide technology,\" says Dr. Ranbir Singh, President, GeneSiC Semiconductor.

With its roots in Virginia, the company offers SiC Schottky Rectifiers for high temperature operations. It has low leakage current at high temperatures-up to 210C, in potential difference ranging from 650V - 1200V. All semi conductor devices generate heat during operation and thus, efficient dissipation of this heat is critical to its performance and lifespan. The unique architecture of the rectifier enables it to deliver fast switching characteristics while dissipating less amount of energy. With innovative design and fabrication techniques, the designing team at GeneSiC excludes the need of high temperature solders, and ceramic packages to match the packaging technology and achieve high temperature SiC power device. Incorporating high temperature and high frequency capabilities, SiC Schottky Rectifiers increases the conversion efficiency and reduces the volume of power electronic circuits and systems.

Additionally, the company also offers an innovative power device, the Silicon Carbide Junction Transistor (SJT).The component is free of gate-oxide which excludes the need to supply power for switching to OFF mode. It has quasi-majority carriers with a square Reverse Biased Safe Operation Area (RBSOA) and is partially positive in terms of temperature co-efficient of on-resistance. It is a current controlled device which requires a small gate current that can be driven by commercially available gate drivers. It is compatible with standard MOSFET/IGBT drivers and anti-parallel diode connection. Apart from components, the company also delivers a product, Gate Driver for SiC SJT with output and signal isolation. It utilizes DC-DC converters and opto-isolators driving devices in half-bridge configuration and providing fast switching and customizable gate currents necessary for SJT devices. For developing customized products, the company offers high temperature SiC Bare Die. It enables the designer to mount it directly onto a substrate and excludes the need for external packaging. GeneSiC believes in contributing true technology for the betterment of semiconductor community. \"We have a long history of successful partnerships with fellow government agencies like Department of Energy, Health and many institutes and universities,\" says Singh. At one instance, GeneSiC in partnership with Sandia developed SiC Thyristors for operating under high temperature, and high frequency to increase power system efficiency and reliability. With operation of all electronic parameters at maximum levels in a single chip, it minimizes the size of smart grid systems. Thus, it offers higher voltage, faster switching frequencies, and higher temperature operation when compared to conventional silicon-based thyristors. GeneSiC has recently completed delivery of thyristors to multiple customers conducting research in renewable energy, army, and naval power system applications.

While researching on semiconductor technology, GeneSiC focuses on performance and cost metrics to add value to its customer\'s product. \"Today, SiC technology is a $30 million dollar market but can shoot up to $3 to $4 billion dollars in the coming years,\" concludes Singh. The company predicts SiC technology to obtain a greater part of the market share and thus aims to enhance its capabilities to conserve energy in a wide array of high power systems.