Power devices are a key component in power electronics products for contributing to the realization of a low-carbon society. Attracting attention as the material for the most energy-efficient power device is silicon-carbide (SiC). The material characteristics of SiC have led to a dramatic reduction in power loss and significant energy savings for power electronics devices. Mitsubishi Electric began the development of elemental SiC technologies in the early 1990s and has since introduced them to achieve practical energy-saving effects for products manufactured using SiC. Innovative SiC power modules are contributing to the realization of a low-carbon society and more affluent lifestyles.
Power loss reduced
SiC has approximately 10 times the critical breakdown strength of silicon. Furthermore, the drift layer that is a main cause of electrical resistance is one-tenth of the thickness. This allows a large reduction in electrical resistance and, in turn, reduces power loss. This SiC characteristic enables dramatic reductions in conductivity loss and switching loss in power devices.
When the temperature increases, electrons are exited to the conduction band and the leakage current increases.
At times, this results in abnormal operation.
However, SiC has three times the band gap width of silicon, preventing the flow of leakage current and enabling operation at high temperatures.
High-speed switching operation
With SiC, owing to the high dielectric breakdown, power loss is reduced and high-voltage is easier to achieve, it is possible to use Schottky Barrier Diodes (SBDs), which cannot be used with Si. SBDs can realize high-speed switching motion because they don’t have accumulation carriers. As a result, high-speed switching can be realized.
SiC has three times the heat conductivity of silicon, which improves heat dissipation.
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