Microchip Offers Silicon Carbide Portfolio with 1700V MOSFET Die as Alternative to Silicon IGBTs

By Taryn Engmark

Associate Editor

Embedded Computing Design

July 27, 2021


Microchip Offers Silicon Carbide Portfolio with 1700V MOSFET Die as Alternative to Silicon IGBTs

Today’s energy-efficient electric charging systems powering commercial vehicle propulsion, as well as auxiliary power systems, solar inverters, solid-state transformers, and other transportation and industrial applications all rely on high-voltage switching power devices.

Microchip’s 1700V silicon carbide technology is an alternative to silicon IGBTs. The earlier technology required designers to compromise performance and use complicated topologies due to restrictions on switching frequency by lossy silicon IGBTs. In addition, the size and weight of power electronic systems are bloated by transformers, which can only be reduced in size by increasing switching frequency.

The new silicon carbide product family uses two-level topologies with reduced part count, greater efficiency and simpler control schemes. Without switching limitations, power conversion units can be significantly reduced in size and weight, freeing up space for more charging stations, additional room for paying passengers and cargo, or extending the range and operating time of heavy vehicles, electric buses and other battery-powered commercial vehicles – all at reduced overall system cost.

Features include gate oxide stability where Microchip observed no shift in threshold voltage even after an extended 100,000 pulses in repetitive unclamped inductive switching (R-UIS) tests. R-UIS tests also showed avalanche ruggedness and parametric stability; and with gate oxide stability, demonstrated reliable operation over the life of the system.

The degradation-free body diode can eliminate the need to use an external diode with the silicon carbide MOSFET. A short-circuit withstand capability comparable to IGBTs survives harmful electrical transients. A flatter RDS(on) curve over junction temperature from 0 to 175 degrees Celsius (C) enables the power system to operate at greater stability than silicon carbide MOSFETs that exhibit more sensitivity to temperature.

Microchip streamlines the adoption of its technology with a family of AgileSwitch® digital programmable gate drivers and wide range of discrete and power module packaging. These gate drivers help speed silicon carbide development from benchtop to production. 

For information, visit Microchip.