A report details a survey of the state of technological development and commercial availability of SiC-based electronic devices that has been performed to evaluate the suitability of such devices as power switches in present and future applications in which high reliability and/or capability for high-temperature operation are or will be required. Examples of such applications include high-temperature motor drives, switch modules, and DC-to- DC power converters, and DC-to-AC power inverters. The survey consisted primarily of a comparative study of the relative advantages and disadvantages of SiCbased vertical-junction field-effect transistors (VJFETs) and SiC-based metal oxide/semiconductor field-effect transistors (MOSFETs). Other devices, including conventional Si-based MOSFETs and SiCbased bipolar junction transistors (BJTs) were considered, but only in passing, because it was assumed, at the beginning of the study, that the superiority of SiCbased VJFETs and SiC-based MOSFETs over other devices for power-switching applications had already been established.

Overall, it was found that fundamental properties of SiC-based JFETs are more closely matched to design requirements for power electronic circuits than are the fundamental properties of SiC-based MOSFETs. It was concluded that SiCbased MOSFETs could be regarded as stopgap design components in that their performances do not exceed those of Sibased MOSFETs but designers might feel compelled to use them if SiC-based VJFETs were not available. It was further concluded that first-generation SiC-based VJFETs are so superior to both Si-based and SiC-based MOSFETs that there may not be a need for stopgap components.

This work was done by Michael S. Mazzola and Jeffrey B. Casady of Mississippi State University for the Air Force Research Laboratory.

This Brief includes a Technical Support Package (TSP).
A Comparison of SiC-Based Devices for Use as Power Switches

(reference AFRL-0069) is currently available for download from the TSP library.

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