Silicon Carbide Introduction
Silicon carbide (SiC)-based semiconductor electronic devices and circuits are presently being developed
for use in high-temperature, high-power, and high-radiation conditions under which conventional semiconductors cannot adequately perform.
Silicon carbide’s ability to function under such extreme conditions is expected to enable significant improvements to a far-ranging variety of applications and systems.These range from greatly improved high-voltage switching for energy savings in public electric power distribution and electric motor drives to more powerful microwave electronics for radar and communications to sensors and controls for cleaner-burning more fuel-efficient jet aircraft and automobile engines.
In the particular area of power devices, theoretical appraisals have indicated that SiC
power MOSFET’s and diode rectifiers would operate over higher voltage and temperature ranges, have
superior switching characteristics, and yet have die sizes nearly 20 times smaller than correspondingly
rated silicon-based devices. However, these tremendous theoretical advantages have yet to be widely
realized in commercially available SiC devices, primarily owing to the fact that SiC’s relatively immature
crystal growth and device fabrication technologies are not yet sufficiently developed to the degree required
for reliable incorporation into most electronic systems.