GaN and SiC, devices and technology

An ebook proposed by Maurizio Di Paolo Emilio, EETIMES – Improved energy efficiency and growing demand for longer battery life are prompting the power electronics community to take yet another hard look at the tradeoffs presented by wide-bandgap semiconductor technology operating at higher voltages, temperatures, and frequencies.

While decades-old issues around cost and yield linger, Gallium Nitride (GaN), Silicon Carbide (SiC) wide bandgap semiconductors are looking more promising in high-power and high-temperature applications, where silicon falls short.

Our deep dive into the promise and pitfalls of WBG technology examines the pros and cons of these silicon alternatives, and whether demanding applications like automotive and 5G are enough to push GaN and SiC technologies to the forefront of future chip designs.

First, a short primer: GaN and SiC are designated wide bandgap (WBG) semiconductors based on the energy required to shift electrons in these materials from the valence to the conduction band. For silicon, this energy is 1.1eV; about 3.2eV for the SiC; and 3.4eV for GaN. Those properties result in a higher applicable breakdown voltage, which can reach up to 1,700 volts in some applications.

Our Special project examines the forces driving the WBG market, its prospects after years of unfulfilled expectations, and what applications might provide a springboard for market penetration.

GaN and SiC semiconductors offer advantages over silicon for power applications, especially in the power supply market. However, designers working with these broadband semiconductors face real-world challenges… Full article & ebook to download.