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Performance and Robustness testing of SiC Power Devices

Student: Asad Fayyaz Supervisor: Dr. Alberto Castellazzi

Silicon Carbide is a new semiconductor material under investigation for Power Electronic applications e.g. Aerospace, oil drilling and railway traction. It has electronic parameters that would enable dramatic improvements in performance. New SiC-based power-switching devices have been demonstrated and experiments are done to confirm the most optimistic performance predictions stated. But still difference exists between the prototype devices that have been demonstrated and establishing an economically functional commercial device. Three important properties to consider while measuring the performance of a power-switching device are: Switching frequency Junction temperature Voltage rating and Power Density Designed test circuit can be used for the following three types of testing in order to measure the robustness of power-switching devices: Double Pulse Tester Short Circuit These three testing types are comprehensive and require different temperatures 25OC 150OC. Avalanche Breakdown


Methodology and Test Hardware Circuit

Experimental Setup

Circuit Operation, Results and Discussion

Double Pulse Tester Circuit Operation To test the switching characteristics of the device. An inductive load buck converter which has one device under test (D.U.T), two load inductors and a free wheeling diode. See Fig. 2 and 3. Two-pulse signal sent to the base of the D.U.T. at one time. Inductor current is charged to the desire value during the first pulse. The falling edge of this pulse and the rising edge of the second pulse correspond to turn-off and turn-on switching transients of the D.U.T. at any desired current and voltage level.
Collector Current IC (A)

Double pulse generator generates double pulse signal that feeds into the base drive circuit. Width of each pulse is Adjustable. Delay between the two are adjustable too. Collector current and collector-emitter voltage waveforms obtained using oscilloscope. Double pulse tester is the main circuit. It also included base drive circuit to drive the base of device Fig 1: Experimental Setup under test (D.U.T) which in this case is BJT.
300 250 200 150 100 50 VCE (Volts)

2.50E+01 2.00E+01 1.50E+01 1.00E+01 5.00E+00 0.00E+00

PSpice Circuit Schematics

Inductor (47uH)

Results Testing was done at 150V DC and D.U.T was subjected to different temperatures (50OC, 75OC, 100OC and 125OC) using the hot plate.
180 160 140 0.035 0.03 180 160 140

0.035 0.03 0.025 0.02 0.015 0.01 0.005 0

Collector Current IC (A)

VCE (Volts)

Time (Seconds)

0.02 0.015 0.01 0.005 0 2.00E-06 4.00E-06 6.00E-06 -0.005 8.00E-06

VCE (Volts)




Collector Current IC (A)

Experimental Circuit

0 0.00E+00

-5.00E+00 1.60E-05



120 100 80 60 40 20 0 -4.00E-06 -2.00E-06 0.00E+00

120 100 80 60 40 20 0 -4.00E-06 -2.00E-06 0.00E+00 2.00E-06 4.00E-06 6.00E-06

Fig 2: Double Pulse Tester Schematics Fig 3: Simulation Waveform of IC and VCE

Capacitor (1000uF)

Fig 4: Double Pulse Tester SiC Free Wheeling Diode

Base Drive Circuit was mounted on top of the double pulse tester circuit. D.U.T and diode intentionally placed at the side of the circuit board to allow changing temperature using hot plate. Current Probe mounted on board to allow ease in measurement. Printed circuit board minimizes parasitic inductance.

Experimental results match the simulation results. Small amount of current overshoot during turn on due to parasitic inductance.

Base Drive Circuit

-0.005 8.00E-06

Time (seconds) Fig 5: VCE and IC Waveform at 150V (t = 50OC)

180 160 140 0.04 0.035 0.03 0.025 0.02 0.015 0.01 0.005 0

Time (Seconds) Fig 6: VCE and IC Waveform at 150V (t = 75OC)

180 160 140 0.04 0.035 0.03 0.025 0.02 0.015 0.01 0.005 0

Collector Current IC (A) VCE (Volts)

Collector Current IC (A)

BJT (Device under Test) D.U.T

VCE (Volts)

120 100 80 60 40 20

120 100 80 60 40 20

0 -0.005 -4.00E-06 -2.00E-06 0.00E+00 2.00E-06 4.00E-06 6.00E-06 8.00E-06

Current Probe

Time (Seconds)

-0.005 0 -4.00E-06 -2.00E-06 0.00E+00 2.00E-06 4.00E-06 6.00E-06 8.00E-06

Fig 7: VCE and IC Waveform at 150V (t =


Fig 8: VCE and IC Waveform at 150V (t = 125OC)

Time (Seconds)

Inductor current increases linearly when the BJT turns ON while BJT is OFF, no current flows through the inductor. Stable device operation over a range of temperatures 50OC 125OC. 1st current peak at 1.5A and 2nd current peak at 3A.

It was a great experience working on SiC switching devices. It is a new semiconductor in the field of power electronics. A lot of research is going on to actually prove that SiC can withstand high voltages, junction temperatures and switching frequency. SiC could also help reduce the size of power electronic devices as SiC devices have higher switching frequency. This research placement work could be extended by using SiC MOSFET and SiC JFET instead of SiC BJT as the device under test (D.U.T.). Two SiC switches could be implemented in parallel to study power sharing. This circuit is designed to be able to withstand a maximum voltage of 500V DC so tests could be carried out at 270V and 415V DC. Short circuit technique and Avalanche breakdown techniques can be also carried out using this circuit. This circuit gives an optimum design and ease of use.

Conclusion and Future Work

I would like to extend my deepest gratitude to Dr Alberto Castellazzi for his guidance and support through out the period of this research placement. Thanks is also due to Mr. Rod Dykeman, Mr. Paul Moss, and Mr. Colin Blackburn for all their support and help with my circuit design and construction.


Summer Placement 2011