Silicon Carbide (SiC)

Silicon Carbide SiC

Silicon carbide for a more sustainable future

STMicroelectronics introduced its first SiC diodes in 2004, after several years of research and development on silicon carbide technology. SiC MOSFET were introduced in 2009 and entered mass production in 2014. Today, ST’s portfolio of medium- and high-voltage power products based on SiC technology is among the widest in the industry.

ST is actively engaged in capacity expansion and development of a reliable and robust SiC supply chain able to meet demand growth and ensure continuity through extended longevity programs. ST manufactures its SiC products to the highest standards to ensure reliable performance and efficiency gains for electric vehicle (EV) applications, solar inverters, energy storage, industrial motor drives, and power supplies. Our technology exceeds industrial and automotive application standards and is preparing to target more extreme aerospace applications.

ST recently completed qualification of its third-generation SiC technology platform. Planar MOSFETs based on this platform set new industry-leading benchmarks for transistor efficiency, power density, and switching performance. First products are now commercially available.
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The advantages of SiC power devices

Power devices based on silicon carbide offer various key benefits over conventional silicon devices. Their higher voltage and higher frequency capabilities allow greater system efficiency, faster switching, lower losses, and better thermal management. Ultimately, SiC devices allow smaller and lighter power designs featuring higher power density. 

SiC for electric mobility

SiC power devices find application in critical power systems inside electric vehicles, including traction inverters, on-board chargers and in the DC/DC conversion stage. They also provide significant and efficiency gains in charging stations. With respect to their silicon-based counterparts, SiC devices offer the following advantages:

  • Over 600 km longer driving range on an average EV
  • 150 to 200 kg less weight on an average EV
  • Double the energy from a charging station
  • Longer battery lifetime due to lower stress

 

SiC for industrial power and drives

SiC devices benefit industrial applications from motors and robots to various other factory automation systems, as well as in power supplies for servers and solar energy conversion systems. For industrial contexts, SiC devices can deliver the following benefits with respect to silicon-based devices:

  • 50% lower power losses
  • Ability to run at five times the frequency
  • 50% reduction in system size and weight
  • 20% reduction in total cost of ownership

 

SiC-based power devices can operate at up to 200°C junction temperature (limited only by the package), which reduces cooling requirements and allows more compact, more reliable, and more robust solutions. Existing designs can incorporate the performance and efficiency benefits of SiC devices without major changes, allowing fast development turnaround while keeping the BOM to a minimum.

The performance of wide-bandgap materials

Silicon carbide is a wide-bandgap material that exhibits many intrinsic advantages over conventional silicon.

SIC characteristics 1 

SIC characteristics 2 

炭化ケイ素

炭化ケイ素(SiC)は、ワイドバンドギャップ材料です。ワイドバンドギャップ技術には、シリコンと比べて高い動作温度、優れた熱損失、低いスイッチング損失および導通損失など、多くのメリットがあります。その一方で、ワイドバンドギャップ材料は、シリコン・ベースの材料と比べて量産が難しいという点があります。

SiCの特徴

silicon carbide vs silicon

SiC のメリット

sic power schottky diode and sic mosfet

高性能・高電圧動作

  • 極めて低い電力損失
  • MOSFETはSiCボディ・ダイオードを内蔵 (4象限動作に対応)
  • シリコンに比べて高速・堅牢
  • より小さなチップ面積で同等のブレークダウン電圧を実現
  • 高いエネルギー効率
  • 高い熱伝導率

高い動作周波数

  • 低いスイッチング損失と、優れたダイオードのスイッチング特性
  • システムの小型化および軽量化が可能

高い動作温度

  • 200°Cまでの接合部温度で動作
  • 冷却構造を小型化できるため、システムの軽量化と長寿命化が可能

簡単な駆動

  • 標準的なゲート・ドライバを使用可能
  • 回路設計を簡略化

STのSiC

STは、1996年からSiC製品の開発に取り組んできました。競争力のあるコストにおいて高品質化と長寿命化が要求される半導体市場では、常に新しい技術が求められています。STは、ワイド・バンドギャップ材料の実用化における課題を克服し、2004年に初めてSiCダイオードの生産を開始しました。さらに、2009年には最初のSiCパワーMOSFETの生産を開始し、SiCパワーMOSFETとパワー・ショットキー・ダイオードに1200V耐圧製品を追加して、当初の650V耐圧品を補完しています。

SiCのサプライ・チェーンは強固になりつつあります。競合企業が増加し、原材料コストの低下が進む中、STは材料の品質や製造プロセスの改善に精力的に取り組んできました。また、STがSiC材料およびSiC製品の堅牢性を向上させることで開発した車載用SiCパワー半導体は、自動車の電動化する上で重要な役割を果たしています。

さらに、STは、2017年に6インチのSiCウェハの生産を開始しました。これにより、生産能力が増強され、太陽光発電システム用インバータ、産業用モータ・ドライバ、生活家電、電源アダプタなど、拡大を続けるSiCアプリケーションの低コスト化と供給量の増加に貢献しています。

SiC Silicon Carbide wafers

SiCテクノロジー 解説ビデオ

SiC Silicon Carbide video

Learn more about silicon carbide

Read our whitepapers

Whitepaper - Propoerties of wideband gap materials

Whitepaper – Designing on-board charger

Whitepaper – Designing EV traction

Watch our video

Our blog posts

25th anniversary of SiC, a timeline.
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