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Challenges regarding parallel connection of SiC JFETs
KTH, School of Electrical Engineering (EES), Electrical Energy Conversion.
KTH, School of Electrical Engineering (EES), Electrical Energy Conversion.
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2013 (English)In: IEEE transactions on power electronics, ISSN 0885-8993, E-ISSN 1941-0107, Vol. 28, no 3, 1449-1463 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

State-of-the-art silicon carbide switches have current ratings that are not sufficiently high to be used in high-power converters. It is, therefore, necessary to connect several switches in parallel in order to reach sufficient current capabilities. An investigation of parallel-connected normally ON silicon carbide JFETs is presented in this paper. The device parameters that play the most important role for the parallel connection are the pinch-off voltage, the gate-source reverse breakdown voltage, the spread in the on-state resistances, and the variations in static transfer characteristics of the devices. Moreover, it is experimentally shown that a fifth factor affecting the parallel connection of the devices is the parasitic inductances of the circuit layout. The temperature dependence of the gate-source reverse breakdown voltages is analyzed for two different designs of silicon carbide JFETs. If the spread in the pinch-off and gate-source reverse breakdown voltages is sufficiently large, there might be no possibility for a stable off-state operation of a pair of transistors without forcing one of the gate voltages to exceed the breakdown voltage. A solution to this problem using individual gate circuits for the JFETs is given. The switching performance of two pairs of parallel-connected devices with different combinations of parameters is compared employing two different gate-driver configurations. Three different circuit layouts are considered and the effect of the parasitic inductances is experimentally investigated. It is found that using a single gate circuit for the two mismatched JFETs may improve the switching performance and therefore the distribution of the switching losses significantly. Based on the measured switching losses, it is also clear that regardless of the design of the gate drivers, the lowest total switching losses for the devices are obtained when they are symmetrically placed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 28, no 3, 1449-1463 p.
Keyword [en]
Junction field-effect transistor (JFET), parallel-connected switches, pinch-off voltage, reverse breakdown voltage of the gate, silicon carbide (SiC)
National Category
Electrical Engineering, Electronic Engineering, Information Engineering
Research subject
SRA - Energy
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-117837DOI: 10.1109/TPEL.2012.2206611ISI: 000314697000036Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84867808127OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-117837DiVA: diva2:603850
Funder
StandUp
Note

QC 20150629

Available from: 2013-02-07 Created: 2013-02-05 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. On Gate Drivers and Applications of Normally-ON SiC JFETs
Open this publication in new window or tab >>On Gate Drivers and Applications of Normally-ON SiC JFETs
2013 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In this thesis, various issues regarding normally-ON silicon carbide (SiC)Junction Field-Effect Transistors (JFETs) are treated. Silicon carbide powersemiconductor devices are able to operate at higher switching frequencies,higher efficiencies, and higher temperatures compared to silicon counterparts.From a system perspective, these three advantages of silicon carbide can determinethe three possible design directions: high efficiency, high switchingfrequency, and high temperature.The structure designs of the commercially-available SiC power transistorsalong with a variety of macroscopic characteristics are presented. Apart fromthe common design and performance problems, each of these devices suffersfrom different issues and challenges which must be dealt with in order to pavethe way for mass production. Moreover, the expected characteristics of thefuture silicon carbide devices are briefly discussed. The presented investigationreveals that, from the system point-of-view, the normally-ON JFET isone of the most challenging silicon carbide devices. There are basically twoJFET designs which were proposed during the last years and they are bothconsidered.The state-of-the-art gate driver for normally-ON SiC JFETs, which wasproposed a few years ago is briefly described. Using this gate driver, theswitching performance of both Junction Field-Effect Transistor designs wasexperimentally investigated.Considering the current development state of the available normally-ONSiC JFETs, the only way to reach higher current rating is to parallel-connecteither single-chip discrete devices or to build multichip modules. Four deviceparameters as well as the stray inductances of the circuit layout might affectthe feasibility of parallel connection. The static and dynamic performance ofvarious combinations of parallel-connected normally-ON JFETs were experimentallyinvestigated using two different gate-driver configurations.A self-powered gate driver for normally-ON SiC JFETs, which is basicallya circuit solution to the “normally-ON problem” is also shown. This gatedriver is both able to turn OFF the shoot-through current during the startupprocess, while it also supplies the steady-state power to the gate-drivecircuit. From experiments, it has been shown that in a half-bridge converterconsisting of normally-ON SiC JFETs, the shoot-through current is turnedOFF within approximately 20 μs.Last but not least, the potential benefits of employing normally-ON SiCJFETs in future power electronics applications is also presented. In particular,it has been shown that using normally-ON JFETs efficiencies equal 99.8% and99.6% might be achieved for a 350 MW modular multilevel converter and a40 kVA three-phase two-level voltage source converter, respectively.Conclusions and suggestions for future work are given in the last chapterof this thesis.

Abstract [sv]

I denna avhandling behandlas olika aspekter av normally–ON junction–field–effect–transistorer (JFETar) baserade på kiselkarbid (SiC). Effekthalvledarkomponenteri SiC kan arbeta vid högre switchfrekvens, högre verkningsgradoch högre temperatur än motsvarigheterna i kisel. Ur ett systemperspektivkan de tre nämnda fördelarna användas i omvandlarkonstruktionen för attuppnå antingen hög verkningsgrad, hög switchfrekvens eller hög temperaturtålighet.Såväl halvledarstrukturen som de makroskopiska egenskaperna för kommersiellttillgängliga SiC–transistorer presenteras. Bortsett från de vanligakonstruktions–och prestandaproblemen lider de olika komponenterna av ettantal tillkortakommanden som måste övervinnas för att bana väg för massproduktion.Även framtida SiC–komponenter diskuteras.Ur ett systemperspektiv är normally-ON JFETen en av de mest utmanandeSiC-komponenterna. De två varianter av denna komponent som varittillgängliga de senaste åren har båda avhandlats.State–of–the–art–drivdonet för normally-ON JFETar som presenteradesför några år sedan beskrivs i korthet. Med detta drivdon undersöks switchegenskapernaför båda JFET-typerna experimentellt.Vid beaktande av det aktuella utvecklingsstadiet av de tillgängliga normally–ON JFETarna i SiC, är det möjligt att uppnå höga märkströmmar endastom ett antal single–chip–komponenter parallellkopplas eller om multichipmodulerbyggs. Fyra komponentparametrar samt strö-induktanser för kretsenkan förutses påverka parallellkopplingen. De statiska och dynamiska egenskapernaför olika kombinationer av parallellkopplade normally-ON JFETarundersöks experimentellt med två olika gate–drivdonskonfigurationer.Ett självdrivande gate-drivdon för normally-ON JFETar presenteras också.Drivdonet är en kretslösning till “normally–ON–problemet”. Detta gatedrivdonkan både stänga av kortslutningsströmmen vid uppstart och tillhandahållaströmförsörjning vid normal drift. Med hjälp av en halvbrygga medkiselkarbidbaserade normally–ON JFETar har det visats att kortslutningsströmmenkan stängas av inom cirka 20 μs.Sist, men inte minst, presenteras de potentiella fördelarna med användningenav SiC-baserade normally-ON JFETar i framtida effektelektroniskatillämpningar. Speciellt visas att verkningsgrader av 99.8% respektive 99.5%kan uppnås i fallet av en 350 MW modular multilevel converter och i en40 kVA tvånivåväxelriktare. Sista kaplitet beskriver slutsatser och föreslagetframtida arbete.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2013. x, 102 p.
Series
Trita-EE, ISSN 1653-5146 ; 2013:28
Keyword
Silicon Carbide, Normally-ON Junction Field-Effect Transistors (JFETs), Gate-Drive Circuits, Protection circuits, High-Efficiency Converters.
National Category
Other Electrical Engineering, Electronic Engineering, Information Engineering
Research subject
Järnvägsgruppen - Elsystem
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-122679 (URN)978-91-7501-799-0 (ISBN)
Public defence
2013-06-14, Kollegiesalen, Brinellvägen 8, KTH, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
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Supervisors
Note

QC 20130527

Available from: 2013-05-27 Created: 2013-05-26 Last updated: 2013-05-27Bibliographically approved

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