Power-Switching Applications Beyond Silicon: Status and Future Prospects of SiC and GaN Devices
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This article reviews the development of SiC and GaN devices for power-switching applications in the context of four specifically identified application requirements: (1) high-blocking voltage, (2) high-power efficiency, (3) high-switching speed, and (4) normally OFF operation. Specific device and material characteristics, such as ON resistance, parasitic capacitances, and energy-gap values, are compared and discussed in relation to the identified application requirements. Following a review of the fundamental limitations of silicon as a material, this article describes the material advantages that motivated the development of commercially available Schottky diodes and transistors using SiC. The last section analyzes the potential of GaN to enable further technical progress beyond the theoretical limit of Si and to significantly reduce the cost of power-electronic switches.
Microelectronics and Integrated Circuits