high voltages (as high as 15 KV) without the need to establish
a junction barrier. The result is a quantum reduction in energy
losses during switching.
SiC Schottky diodes are instrumental in enabling computer
and digital data storage power supplies to reduce energy
losses to less than half that of their silicon predecessors. They
also enable more delivered power in the same physical power
supply size, which helps reduce the cost of high performing data
centers. Applied similarly, SiC diodes helped enable the high
efficiency that fueled the initial wave of solar inverter system
As impressive as those savings are, however, SiC diodes
alone are not enough to impact more than a few power
applications. SiC transistors were needed to broaden the
applications and enable more significant system impact. The
first commercial SiC power transistors were introduced in 2011.
Today, both SiC diodes and transistors are available from more
than ten suppliers. As portfolios of various blocking voltage and
current rated devices are now proliferating, SiC-based power
systems are expanding from watts to megawatts of system
Beyond power supplies and solar inverters, SiC devices are
being used in battery chargers, welding and cutting tools in
factory automation, and for the rugged electronics required by
the oil and gas industry. A combination of both lower and higher
voltage SiC prototype devices are even being used in the new
solid-state transformers and power switches that will enable
DC microgrids, distributed power generation systems, changing
grid architectures, and the future smart grid.
Additionally, SiC power devices will play a
major role in the drive train electronics and
charging systems of electric vehicles, enabling
lighter, cheaper, and faster charging, and
extending the range between charges.
As one can imagine, the transportation and
installation costs of the SiC solution are also
much lower than the silicon solution, adding
even more value to the SiC cost advantage.
For example, an electric bus charger system
now running the streets of China features an
impressive 60 percent weight reduction (see
Figure 2), which was driven by the faster,
more efficient switching of the SiC devices.
In addition, the SiC solution runs efficiently
enough to eliminate the need for fans,
improving overall system cost and reliability.
Moreover, in a design by Toyota on a full
SiC drive train, a prototype electric vehicle
achieved a 40% reduction of the electronics
size and weight and provided an additional 10
percent improvement of the vehicle’s mileage
from a charge.
Beyond these examples, SiC customers
have developed smaller, lower cost SiC based
solutions ranging from LED lighting power
supplies to auxiliary power supplies for trains
and industrial power systems, such as laser
and metal cutting solutions.
In the future, the medium voltage SiC
Figure 2: Size and performance comparison
of a Si- vs. SiC-based charger system.
1 - 866 - 426 - 6726
Corporation has been
the industry leader in
test point design
For over 70 Years