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On Gate Drivers and Applications of Normally-ON SiC JFETs
KTH, School of Electrical Engineering (EES), Electrical Energy Conversion.
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 [en]
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: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-122679ISBN: 978-91-7501-799-0 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-122679DiVA: diva2:623258
Public defence
2013-06-14, Kollegiesalen, Brinellvägen 8, KTH, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

QC 20130527

Available from: 2013-05-27 Created: 2013-05-26 Last updated: 2013-05-27Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Silicon Carbide Power Transistors: A New Era in Power Electronics Is Initiated
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Silicon Carbide Power Transistors: A New Era in Power Electronics Is Initiated
2012 (English)In: IEEE Industrial Electronics Magazine, ISSN 1932-4529, E-ISSN 1941-0115, Vol. 6, no 2, 17-26 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Keyword
Silicon carbide, Power electronics, Silicon, Thermal conductivity, Conductivity, Transistors
National Category
Electrical Engineering, Electronic Engineering, Information Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-99083 (URN)10.1109/MIE.2012.2193291 (DOI)000305614700004 ()2-s2.0-84862658720 (Scopus ID)
Note
QC 20120718Available from: 2012-07-18 Created: 2012-07-13 Last updated: 2017-12-07Bibliographically approved
2. An Experimental Evaluation of SiC Switches in Soft-Switching Converters
Open this publication in new window or tab >>An Experimental Evaluation of SiC Switches in Soft-Switching Converters
2014 (English)In: IEEE transactions on power electronics, ISSN 0885-8993, E-ISSN 1941-0107, Vol. 29, no 5, 2527-2538 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Soft-switching converters equipped with insulated gate bipolar transistors (IGBTs) in silicon (Si) have to be dimensioned with respect to additional losses due to the dynamic conduction losses originating from the conductivity modulation lag. Replacing the IGBTs with emerging silicon carbide (SiC) transistors could reduce not only the dynamic conduction losses but also other loss components of the IGBTs. In the present paper, therefore, several types of SiC transistors are compared to a state-of-the-art 1200-V Si IGBT. First, the conduction losses with sinusoidal current at a fixed amplitude (150 A) are investigated at different frequencies up to 200 kHz. It was found that the SiC transistors showed no signs of dynamic conduction losses in the studied frequency range. Second, the SiC transistors were compared to the Si IGBT in a realistic soft-switching converter test system. Using a calorimetric approach, it was found that all SiC transistors showed loss reductions of more than 50%. In some cases loss reductions of 65% were achieved even if the chip area of the SiC transistor was only 11% of that of the Si IGBT. It was concluded that by increasing the chip area to a third of the Si IGBT, the SiC vertical trench junction field-effect transistor could yield a loss reduction of approximately 90%. The reverse conduction capability of the channel of unipolar devices is also identified to be an important property for loss reductions. A majority of the new SiC devices are challenging from a gate/base driver point-of-view. This aspect must also be taken into consideration when making new designs of soft-switching converters using new SiC transistors.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
IEEE Press, 2014
Keyword
Bipolar junction transistor (BJT), conductivity modulation, insulated gate bipolar transistor (IGBT), junction field-effect transistor (JFET), metal-oxide-semiconductor FET (MOSFET), resonant converters, silicon carbide (SiC), soft switching
National Category
Electrical Engineering, Electronic Engineering, Information Engineering
Research subject
Järnvägsgruppen - Elsystem
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-122678 (URN)10.1109/TPEL.2013.2265380 (DOI)000329991500038 ()2-s2.0-84893080393 (Scopus ID)
Note

QC 20130710

Available from: 2013-05-26 Created: 2013-05-26 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved
3. High-Power Modular Multilevel Converters With SiC JFETs
Open this publication in new window or tab >>High-Power Modular Multilevel Converters With SiC JFETs
Show others...
2012 (English)In: IEEE transactions on power electronics, ISSN 0885-8993, E-ISSN 1941-0107, Vol. 27, no 1, 28-36 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper studies the possibility of building a modular multilevel converter (M2C) using silicon carbide (SiC) switches. The main focus is on a theoretical investigation of the conduction losses of such a converter and a comparison to a corresponding converter with silicon-insulated gate bipolar transistors. Both SiC BJTs and JFETs are considered and compared in order to choose the most suitable technology. One of the submodules of a down-scaled 3 kVA prototype M2C is replaced with a submodule with SiC JFETs without antiparallel diodes. It is shown that the diode-less operation is possible with the JFETs conducting in the negative direction, leaving the possibility to use the body diode during the switching transients. Experimental waveforms for the SiC submodule verify the feasibility during normal steady-state operation. The loss estimation shows that a 300 MW M2C for high-voltage direct current transmission would potentially have an efficiency of approximately 99.8% if equipped with future 3.3 kV 1.2 kA SiC JFETs.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
IEEE Press, 2012
Keyword
Diodeless operation, high voltage directcurrent transmission, modular multilevel converter, SiC JFETs, silicon carbide
National Category
Electrical Engineering, Electronic Engineering, Information Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-52687 (URN)10.1109/TPEL.2011.2155671 (DOI)000298048500001 ()2-s2.0-83655192819 (Scopus ID)
Note
© 2011 IEEE. Personal use of this material is permitted. Permission from IEEE must be obtained for all other uses, in any current or future media, including reprinting/republishing this material for advertising or promotional purposes, creating new collective works, for resale or redistribution to servers or lists, or reuse of any copyrighted component of this work in other works. QC 20111220Available from: 2011-12-20 Created: 2011-12-19 Last updated: 2017-12-08Bibliographically approved
4. Experimental comparison of dc-dc boost converters with SiC JFETs and SiC bipolar transistors
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Experimental comparison of dc-dc boost converters with SiC JFETs and SiC bipolar transistors
2011 (English)In: Proceedings of the 2011-14th European Conference on Power Electronics and Applications (EPE 2011) / [ed] EPE Association, 2011Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

An experimental performance comparison between SiC JFET and SiC BJT switches which are used as the main switch for a 2 kW dc/dc converter is presented. In order to perform a fair comparison and due to the different chip areas of these two SiC devices, they both operate under the same on-state losses. Moreover, the switching speeds of the gate and base drivers are approximately equal. It is experimentally shown that the SiC BJT is switching slightly faster than the SiC JFET under the same circuit conditions, while the driver loss for the SiC BJT is higher than for the JFET, especially at relatively low switching frequencies. Various experimental results dealing with the switching performance of the SiC devices and the power losses at different switching frequencies are presented. It is found that the BJT converter has a higher efficiency (99.0% measured at 50 kHz) that the JFET converter.

Keyword
Bipolar Junction Transistor (BJT), High frequency power converter, Junction Field Effect Transistor (JFET), Silicon Carbide (SiC)
National Category
Electrical Engineering, Electronic Engineering, Information Engineering
Research subject
SRA - Energy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-40865 (URN)000308003501095 ()2-s2.0-80053473424 (Scopus ID)978-1-61284-167-0 (ISBN)978-90-75815-15-3 (ISBN)
Conference
EPE 2011
Funder
StandUp
Note

QC 20110930

Available from: 2011-09-21 Created: 2011-09-21 Last updated: 2014-09-11Bibliographically approved
5. Challenges regarding parallel connection of SiC JFETs
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Challenges regarding parallel connection of SiC JFETs
Show others...
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.

Keyword
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:nbn:se:kth:diva-117837 (URN)10.1109/TPEL.2012.2206611 (DOI)000314697000036 ()2-s2.0-84867808127 (Scopus ID)
Funder
StandUp
Note

QC 20150629

Available from: 2013-02-07 Created: 2013-02-05 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved
6. Challenges regarding parallel-connection of SiC JFETs
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Challenges regarding parallel-connection of SiC JFETs
Show others...
2011 (English)In: IEEE 8th International Conference on Power Electronics and ECCE Asia (ICPE & ECCE), 2011: 'Green World with Power Electronics' / [ed] IEEE, 2011, 1095-1101 p.Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Considering the present development of the available Silicon Carbide switches, their current ratings are so low that they cannot be used for high-power converters. It is therefore necessary to connect several switches in parallel in order to obtain sufficient current ratings. An investigation of parallel-connected normally-on Silicon Carbide Junction Field Effect Transistors is presented in this paper. The parameters that play the most important role for the parallel connection are the pinch-off and the gate-source breakdown voltages. The temperature dependency of those two voltages is analyzed based on the pnp structure of the device. If the spread in these parameters 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, especially at high temperatures. A solution to this problem is given. The switching performance of two pairs of parallel-connected devices is compared with respect to their pinch-off voltages, and it is found that differences of approximately 25% in switching losses could result from a difference in the pinch-off voltage of 0.5 V.

Keyword
Electric breakdown, Electric connectors, Heterojunctions, Overcurrent protection, Power electronics, Silicon carbide
National Category
Electrical Engineering, Electronic Engineering, Information Engineering
Research subject
SRA - Energy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-40605 (URN)10.1109/ICPE.2011.5944660 (DOI)2-s2.0-80052078726 (Scopus ID)978-161284956-0 (ISBN)
Conference
ICPE 2011
Funder
StandUp
Note

QC 20110930

Available from: 2011-09-17 Created: 2011-09-17 Last updated: 2013-05-27Bibliographically approved
7. Experimental Comparison of Different Gate-Driver Configurations for Parallel-Connection of Normally-ON SiC JFETs
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Experimental Comparison of Different Gate-Driver Configurations for Parallel-Connection of Normally-ON SiC JFETs
Show others...
2012 (English)In: 7th International Power Electronics and Motion Control Conference (IPEMC), 2012, IEEE conference proceedings, 2012, 16-22 p.Conference paper, Oral presentation only (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Due to the low current ratings of the currently available silicon carbide (SiC) switches they cannot be employed in high-power converters. Thus, it is necessary to parallel-connect several switches in order to reach higher current ratings. This paper presents an investigation of parallel-connected normally-on SiC junction field effect transistors. There are four crucial parameters affecting the effectiveness of the parallel-connected switches. However, the pinch-off voltage and the reverse breakdown voltage of the gates seem to be the most important parameters which affect the switching performance of the devices. In particular, the spread in these two parameters might affect the stable off-state operation of the switches. The switching performance and the switching losses of a pair of parallel-connected devices having different reverse breakdown voltages of the gates is investigated by employing three different gate-driver configurations. It is experimentally shown that using a single gate-driver circuit the switching performance of the parallel-connected devices is almost identical, while the total switching losses are lower compared to the other two configurations.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
IEEE conference proceedings, 2012
Keyword
JFETs, Junctions, Logic gates, Resistors, Silicon carbide, Switches, Transient analysis
National Category
Electrical Engineering, Electronic Engineering, Information Engineering
Research subject
Järnvägsgruppen - Elsystem
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-104800 (URN)10.1109/IPEMC.2012.6258832 (DOI)2-s2.0-84866787241 (Scopus ID)978-1-4577-2085-7 (ISBN)
Conference
ECCE Asia 2012 - 7th International Power Electronics and Motion Control Conference,Harbin, China,2-5 June 2012
Note

QC 20121116

Available from: 2012-11-16 Created: 2012-11-13 Last updated: 2016-11-24Bibliographically approved
8. Self-powered gate driver for normally on silicon carbide junction field-effect transistors without external power supply
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Self-powered gate driver for normally on silicon carbide junction field-effect transistors without external power supply
2013 (English)In: IEEE transactions on power electronics, ISSN 0885-8993, E-ISSN 1941-0107, Vol. 28, no 3, 1488-1501 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The very low on-state resistance, the voltage-controlled gate, and the relative simplicity of fabrication of the normally ON silicon carbide junction field-effect transistor (JFET) make this device the most important player among all state-of-the-art silicon carbide transistors. However, the normally ON nature counts as the main factor which keeps this device far from being considered as an alternative to the silicon insulated-gate bipolar transistor. A self-powered gate driver without external power supply for normally ON silicon carbide JFETs is presented in this paper. The proposed circuit is able to handle the short-circuit currents when the devices are subjected to the dc-link voltage by utilizing the energy associated with this current. On the other hand, it supplies the necessary negative gate-source voltage during the steady-state operation. A detailed description of the operating states in conjunction with a theoretical analysis of the proposed self-powered gate driver is presented. The first part of the experimental investigation has been performed when the proposed circuit is connected to a device which is directly subjected to the dc-link voltage. The second set of measurements were recorded when the self-powered gate-driver was employed as the driver of normally ON components in a half-bridge converter. From the experimental results, it is shown that the short-circuit current is cleared within approximately 20μs after the dc-link voltage is applied, while the power consumption when all devices are kept in the OFF state equals 0.37W. Moreover, it is experimentally shown that the proposed gate driver can properly switch when it is employed in a half-bridge converter. Finally, limitations regarding the range of the applications where the self-powered gate drive can efficiently operate are also discussed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
IEEE, 2013
Keyword
Gate-driver power supply, normally ON silicon carbide (SiC) junction field-effect transistors (JFETs), protection circuit, silicon carbide, Counts-as, DC-link voltages, Experimental investigations, External power supplies, Gate drivers, Gate drives, Gate-source voltage, Half-bridge converters, Junction field-effect transistors, Normally on, On-state resistance, Operating state, Power supply, Protection circuits, Self-powered, Steady-state operation, Voltage-controlled, Field effect transistors, Insulated gate bipolar transistors (IGBT)
National Category
Electrical Engineering, Electronic Engineering, Information Engineering
Research subject
SRA - Energy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-118143 (URN)10.1109/TPEL.2012.2209185 (DOI)000314697000039 ()2-s2.0-84867799218 (Scopus ID)
Funder
StandUp
Note

QC 20130213

Available from: 2013-02-13 Created: 2013-02-12 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved
9. Design Steps Toward a 40-kVA SiC JFET Inverter With Natural-Convection Cooling and an Efficiency Exceeding 99.5%
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Design Steps Toward a 40-kVA SiC JFET Inverter With Natural-Convection Cooling and an Efficiency Exceeding 99.5%
2013 (English)In: IEEE transactions on industry applications, ISSN 0093-9994, E-ISSN 1939-9367, Vol. 49, no 4, 1589-1598 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper describes the concept, design, construction, and experimental investigation of a 40-kVA inverter with silicon carbide junction field-effect transistors (JFETs). The inverter was designed to reach an efficiency exceeding 99.5%. The size of the heat sink is significantly reduced in comparison to silicon insulated-gate bipolar transistor designs, and the high efficiency makes it possible to use free-convection cooling. This could potentially increase reliability compared with solutions with fans. A very low conduction loss has been achieved by parallel connecting ten 85-m Omega normally-ON JFETs in each switch position. A special gate-drive solution was applied, forcing the transistors to switch very fast (approximately 10 kV/mu s), resulting in very low switching losses. As output power is almost equal to input power, special effort was done to precisely determine the amount of semiconductor power losses via comparative thermal measurements. A detailed analysis of the measurements shows that the efficiency of the inverter is close to 99.7% at 40 kVA.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
IEEE Press, 2013
Keyword
Silicon carbide, DC/AC inverters, parallel-connection, high-efficiency, efficiency measurements
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Research subject
Järnvägsgruppen - Elsystem
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-122677 (URN)10.1109/TIA.2013.2258132 (DOI)000322030700012 ()2-s2.0-84880888768 (Scopus ID)
Note

QC 20130710

Available from: 2013-05-26 Created: 2013-05-26 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved

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