Silicon Carbide SiC Discretes

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SiC Discretes

For over 25 years, silicon (Si), as the world's second most abundant element in the crust (after oxygen), has been used as the dominant semiconductor building block used for building bare die. Historically, silicon as opposed to silicon carbide (SiC) has been much more easily and cheaply modified from its natural state to a flexible and economically viable semiconductor building block (i.e. low defect structure wafers). The cost of building SiC wafers is more cost competitive today with more suppliers entering the market. It will continue to improve with the introduction of larger wafers, thus lowering the cost of producing SiC for mainstream products. Today, this results in the birth of higher performing replacements for structures already commonplace in Si such as JFETs, Schottky rectifiers, BJTs, MOSFETs etc.

Manufacturer Schottkys JFETs BJTs* MOSFETs* SJTs Thyristors PiN Rectifiers
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* Designed and produced on request

SiC used as a power semiconductor compound offers some very exciting possibilities and design advantages for the next generation of electronic power devices. The physical potential of SiC as a compound semiconductor is well known and documented, as it has some very attractive properties that make it exceptionally suitable for power electronics.

  • High temp operation capability - bandgap Eg = 3x Si
  • Low Ron & high BV (critical breakdown field Ec = 10x Si)
  • Fast operation (electron velocity saturation vsat = 2x Si)
  • High thermal conductivity ( = 3x Si)

Today there is demand for greater energy efficiency, smaller size, greater power density and higher overall performance that is pushing the boundaries of silicon as a power semiconductor element to its limit. The demand for advancement is now such that the relative cost in terms of process development and R&D needed to reliably squeeze higher performance out of a silicon structure is increasing rapidly. While in tandem long running R&D efforts in SiC semiconductor development which were originally driven and financed by military R&D are now beginning to yield results with exceptional device performances above and beyond silicon and most importantly also by using a repeatable mass production process. SiC wafer fabrication advancements have also led to a reduction in the relative cost to make SiC raw material wafers and several key fab process enhancements are also driving up the yield of good die expected per wafer. The result is a cross over point in the balance of cost versus performance where silicon will give way to a new material for specific applications that benefit from and require extra performance. SiC can cater to a broad range of high-reliability and commercial markets applications such as military, aerospace, high-temperature, industrial automation and green energy.

SiC vs. Si

Benefit Industry
Down Hole Avionics Switched
Power
Hybrid
Electric
Vehicles
Space
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Radiation Resistance   Checkmark     Checkmark

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