Oxford Instruments Plasma Technology has developed an innovative set of plasma process solutions designed to enable maximum Silicon Carbide (SiC) device performance. SiC has a uniquely desirable set of properties for power device manufacture and is being progressively applied to achieve the breakthrough performance required to enable new and exciting technologies. A wide band gap semiconductor, SiC offers a high breakdown field and high thermal conductivity. These inherent advantages enable the production of power devices that answer closely to pressing industrial requirements for smaller, lighter, more efficient technology with the ability to operate at high temperatures. SiC power devices already have established benefit, and a considerable market, in power supply/power factor correction and photovoltaic applications. On the near horizon are electric and hybrid vehicles (EV and HV) and the associated infrastructure. Long term, the scope for substantial efficiency savings is considerable and extends well beyond these key applications.
In this white paper we consider the role of plasma processing and its importance in defining device performance and optimal strategies for the application. We also examine the structure of primary SiC devices such as Schottky barrier diodes (SBDs) and Metal Oxide Semiconductor Field Effect Transistors (MOSFETs).
Figure 1. A basic SBD structure has the limitation that in reverse bias the peak electric field is coincidental with the metalsemiconductor interface, arguably the weakest point of the device.
The Impact of Switching to SiC
In electronic power circuits, power semiconductor devices perform the function of switches, rectifiers or amplifiers. Devices routinely used include SBDs, MOSFETs, bipolar junction transistors (BJTs), junction FETs (JFETs) and insulated gate bipolar transistors (IGBTs). A shared characteristic of many of these devices is that when ‘off’ they must resist the reverse flow of current ie. have a high reverse breakdown voltage. Conversely, ‘on’ resistance is preferentially very low, to minimise heat/power loss.
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This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by Oxford Instruments Plasma Technology.
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