Silicon Carbide (SiC)
Silicon Carbide (SiC) for a more sustainable future
Following several years of intense R&D surrounding silicon carbide, ST introduced the first SiC diodes in 2004, began producing the first SiC MOSFETs in 2009, and commenced mass production in 2014. Recently, ST has introduced 1200V MOSFET and power Schottky diode products to complement the 650V versions.
ST has developed a reliable and robust SiC supply chain and continues to improve the quality of the material and manufacturing processes to deliver competitive advantages and satisfy the ever-growing supply and performance requirements surrounding EVs, solar installations, industrial motor drives, and power supplies.
Advantages of SiC power devices
Specific advantages for electric vehicles:
- 20% reduction in the total cost of ownership
- Longer driving range for e-cars (> 600 km with SiC)
- E-Car weight reduction (150-200 kg on an average EV)
- Faster charging and less stress on batteries
Higher performance and voltage operation
- 50% lower losses at five times the frequency
- Short recovery time of MOSFET intrinsic body diode
- Faster switching capability and increased robustness compared to silicon devices
- Unrivaled specific on-resistance
- Improved energy efficiency
- High thermal conductivity
Higher operating frequency
- Lower switching losses, excellent diode switching performance
- Smaller, lighter systems
Safer and higher operating temperatures
- Operating temperature up to 200°C junction (limited only by the package)
- Reduces cooling requirements, therefore improving miniaturization and lifetime
Easy to drive
- Fully compatible with standard gate drivers
- Simpler design for reduced BOM and shorter time to market<
What exactly is silicon carbide (SiC)?
Silicon carbide (SiC) is a wide bandgap material with many intrinsic advantages over conventional silicon. MOSFETs manufactured in SiC technology can operate at far higher temperatures and higher voltages without compromising on-resistance. They can also work at higher switching frequencies, allowing less bulky passive components.
Comparison of the electrical and thermal properties of silicon, silicon carbide, and gallium nitride