What Makes Silicon Carbide Semiconductors Unique?

Silicon carbide semiconductors have the potential to transform multiple markets. But what makes them special?

Power devices crafted from silicon carbide offer numerous advantages when it comes to quality, reliability and efficiency. They reduce energy loss while decreasing BOM costs in designs featuring higher switching frequencies.

These outstanding physical properties of SiC are enabled by its exceptional electro-thermal characteristics, and will be explored further below in each section.

High Electrical Conductivity

Silicon carbide semiconductors can handle higher voltage and current levels and endure higher temperatures than silicon-based devices, thereby reducing losses during voltage/current conversion and making power semiconductors more cost-efficient, light weight, and efficient.

They are therefore ideal components for power electronics devices like MOSFETs and Schottky diodes in discrete and power module form factors, and their wide bandgap allows them to operate at higher frequencies without losing efficiency or creating heat generation issues.

Doping silicon carbide semiconductors allows manufacturers to control the electrical conductivity of these semiconductors by adding impurities such as nitrogen, phosphorous and beryllium as dopants, altering its breakdown voltage and electronic mobility properties.

EAG Laboratories has extensive expertise analyzing the electro-thermal characteristics of silicon carbide using bulk and spatially resolved analytical techniques. We can verify dopant concentration and distribution as well as ensure unwanted contaminants do not exist within a sample of silicon carbide.

Wide Bandgap

Silicon carbide semiconductors (SiC) and gallium nitride (GaN) offer larger energy bandgaps than traditional silicon-based materials, enabling devices to operate at higher voltages, frequencies and temperatures while decreasing weight volume and lifecycle costs for devices manufactured using these two materials. This allows companies to reduce sizes while increasing power performance at reduced weight volume costs while decreasing weight volume lifecycle costs.

A wider bandgap allows electrons in the valence band to easily transition into conduction without expending thermal energy, making it simpler for semiconductor devices to switch large currents at high speeds without incurring power losses.

Wide-bandgap semiconductors can reduce weight, volume and life-cycle costs in power electronics; accelerate widespread adoption of electric vehicles; and integrate renewable energy sources into the electric grid. Keysight’s flexible modeling sandbox, IC-CAP, empowers device modeling engineers to maximize these innovative technologies for maximum benefit – just as Luke Skywalker skillfully dropped a photon onto Death Star! IC-CAP equips you to tackle any design challenge head on!

High Breakdown Field Strength

Silicon carbide semiconductors boast a breakdown field strength ten times greater than conventional silicon devices, meaning they can withstand much greater energy without being damaged – an essential feature for power conversion applications such as electric vehicle traction inverters.

SiC’s high breakdown field strength enables devices to be made smaller while still offering high voltage ratings, leading to significant savings on component size, weight and costs.

SiC and other wide bandgap materials are increasingly being adopted by automakers to assist their transition towards electric vehicles, and under government pressure for emissions reduction.

Silicon carbide (SiC) is an inorganic chemical compound made up of silicon and carbon. It is widely used in applications requiring high durability, such as bulletproof vests and ceramic car brake plates, as well as being an abrasive or creating synthetic moissanite gemstones for sale. SiC can be grown on wafers through thermal annealing processes or chemical vapor deposition; both methods allow it to grow easily in wafer form.

Low Thermal Conductivity

Silicon Carbide (SiC) is an unconventional wide band gap semiconductor material with unique advantages over more commonly employed silicon in high voltage power applications. SiC can withstand significantly higher temperatures, voltages and frequencies without overheating devices operating at high speeds; additionally its low turn-on resistance enables devices to run at a greater frequency without overheating.

SiC is an inert material with superior chemical resistance to acids and lyes, low thermal expansion rates, making it a highly desired material for wafer tray supports and paddles in semiconductor furnaces, resistors, varistors and varistor components. These qualities make SiC ideal for resistors and varistors applications.

Pure SiC is colorless and features a cubic crystal structure. It can be grown as monocrystalline single crystals using the Lely method and occasionally cut into synthetic moissanite gemstones for jewelry use.

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