Silicon Carbide Semiconductor

Silicon carbide semiconductor offers several advantages that make it an attractive alternative to silicon-based devices, including its ability to handle high voltages, enhance thermal efficiency and decrease size/weight of power electronic devices in electric vehicles.

SiC is found naturally in moissanite gems and kimberlite deposits, but most is produced synthetically for use in electronic components, power supplies and nuclear reactors.

Wide bandgap

Silicon carbide (SiC) is a pioneering semiconductor material with an extremely wide bandgap, enabling SiC devices to handle higher voltages and currents than their silicon-based counterparts, making them suitable for power electronics such as electric vehicle traction inverters and uninterruptible power supplies.

Semiconductors are materials that alternately behave as conductors (like copper electrical wiring) and insulators ( like polymer insulation on that wiring). Semiconductors’ bandgap is an energy barrier between their valence band ( valence band ) and conduction band ( conduction band). The bandgap allows semiconductor devices to switch current on or off as required by circuits.

The width of a bandgap depends on the size and strength of atomic bonds in materials as well as temperature. A wider bandgap requires larger electric fields to excite carriers; hence its suitability in high voltage applications. Wide-bandgap materials also exhibit lower conduction losses than silicon counterparts.

According to the US Department of Energy, wide-bandgap semiconductors will become an integral component of renewable energy systems such as solar and wind. Furthermore, wide-bandgap semiconductors will help facilitate faster adoption of electric vehicles, digitalize power industry processes more easily, reduce lifecycle costs more significantly, make WBG power electronics smaller faster reliable more cost efficient than their silicon-based counterparts and offer several other potential benefits that make WBG power electronics attractive alternatives to silicon power electronics.

High power density

Silicon carbide power semiconductor devices have proven their resilience under higher voltages, lower temperatures, and longer service lives than their silicon (Si) counterparts. Furthermore, SiC devices can be combined together into smaller power supplies with greater power densities, making them the ideal choice for power electronics that connect our world today and into the future.

Silicon carbide semiconductors boast wide bandgaps that allow them to move electrical energy more efficiently than traditional silicon devices, switching quickly between conductors and insulators and minimizing switching losses, leading to faster conversion of electricity, less energy costs and reduced conversion losses – making them perfect for use in data center power supplies, wind/solar power modules and electric vehicle drive converters.

As renewable energy demand rises, so too will its need for reliable power sources. Silicon carbide semiconductor power supplies offer energy savings while improving renewable-energy system efficiencies by having high switching frequency and temperature capabilities.

No matter whether it’s for an industrial application or battery-powered technology, Wolfspeed provides advanced power semiconductor solutions designed and manufactured using SiC technology – working closely with Astrodyne TDI on innovative designs for even the most challenging applications.

Low turn-on resistance

Silicon carbide semiconductors possess higher blocking voltage capabilities than their silicon counterparts, making them better able to manage larger current flows and switch losses, thus improving power conversion efficiency and making them suitable for high voltage applications such as traction inverters in electric vehicles.

Silicon carbide differs from standard silicon semiconductors by having a wider bandgap than other materials such as gallium nitride (GaN). A wider bandgap allows SiC to move electrical energy more efficiently – ideal for high voltage applications as it also can withstand high temperatures and radiation exposure.

Silicon carbide boasts an extremely low turn-on resistance, switching on and off in less than 10 nanoseconds – an invaluable quality for high-speed applications as it reduces energy loss while speeding up operations. Furthermore, silicon carbide has low temperature dependence allowing it to operate at higher temperatures than traditional semiconductors.

Silicon carbide stands out from traditional semiconductor materials in that its melting point is far lower, as well as being highly resistant to corrosion from salts and acids, making it perfect for harsh environments like marine applications. Silicon carbide’s advantages have led to its increasing use in electronic devices as it has the potential to extend driving distances through increased efficiency of traction inverters – one reason it could even increase electric vehicle driving distances!


Silicon carbide (SiC) is an inorganic chemical compound composed of silicon and carbon. Naturally occurring as moissanite gem, SiC is mass produced as powder or single crystals for use as an abrasive. SiC is also found in bulletproof vests; when doped with aluminum, boron, gallium or nitrogen dopants it becomes doped to behave more like a semiconductor material; creating P-type or N-type semiconductor regions needed for device fabrication.

SiC’s reliability is a crucial aspect of its adoption as wide bandgap power devices in high-performance applications, unlike its more common predecessor, silicon. SiC offers higher voltages, switching frequencies and lower parasitic effects than silicon; however there are certain important considerations when assessing its reliability.

Reliability testing and life prediction models are crucial tools in estimating the expected lifecycle of silicon carbide power devices. Industry tests typically aim to push them beyond their maximum voltage or current ratings as long as possible, which puts undue strain on them and results in wear-out which provides data to predict mean time to failure (MTTF).

manufacturers must also pay close attention to cosmic rays, which may cause corrosion damage in power devices’ oxide layers. This is particularly essential in aerospace applications where radiation levels can reach three times those seen at standard industry altitudes.

Scroll to Top