Silicon Carbide Based Power Electronics and Virtual Design Platform
Silicon Carbide (SiC) is a promising new material for high power high
temperature electronics applications. SiC Schottky diodes are already
finding wide acceptance in designing high efficiency power electronic
systems. Design of efficient Silicon Carbide based power systems requires
a thorough knowledge of the physics of operation of SiC power devices,
their thermal behavior, and calibrated compact models that can be included
in industry standard simulation tools such as SPICE and MATLAB Simulink.
Unique aspects of 4H-SiC based devices such as interface trap states,
incomplete ionization, transition region, surface roughness and Coulomb
scattering mobility need to be understood and incorporated in the device
models to carry out accurate modeling and simulation.
"–Unique Challenges in Modeling–
Calibrated compact models of SiC devices for industry-standard simulation
tools, such as SPICE and MATLAB Simulink, are necessary. Accurate
modelling is challenging due to some unique aspects of 4H-SiC based
devices: A higher density of interface trap states, incomplete
ionization, transition region, surface roughness and Coulomb
scattering mobility all need to be understood and incorporated
in the device models."
Our SiC Power Electronics Virtual Design Platform enables modeling
and simulation of SiC devices and circuits using a multi-tiered approach.
We first link experiments to physics based models and analytical expressions.
We then use those models and experimental data to create behavioral and/or
SPICE models for SiC devices. Finally these models are used in circuit and
system simulations. This platform provides a very crucial and economically
indispensable link between SiC power device manufacturers (CREE, Infineon,
etc.) and commercial (GM, Ford, etc.) and military (General Atomics,
General Dynamics, Raytheon, etc.) power electronics system manufacturers.
"–CoolCAD Tools Expand Design Capabilities
for power modules and SiC–
In the energy industry, where power and efficiency are
of utmost importance, and cost of product is many times dictated by
design and experimental testing, extensive use of CAD tools in design
of new power electronics will not only reduce development cost, but
will also significantly reduce time-to-market for Silicon Carbide
Our previous NSF SBIR project titled “Development of Silicon Carbide
Power Device and Circuit CAD Tools and Prototyping of SiC Based Power
Converters for Hybrid Vehicles and Power Electronic Applications”
enabled us to initiate the development of this Virtual Design Platform
for power modules. We developed CAD tools for SiC power DMOSFET and IGBT
device design, mixed-mode and SPICE based CAD tools for power converter
circuits, and used them to demonstrate the viability of SiC power converters
by building a prototype power converter system using SiC power devices.
Currently, we extend and improve this capability with the support of
the US Army Research Laboratory and the US Office of the Secretary of Defense.
The improvements include an addition of a SPICE library for all commercially
available SiC power MOSFETs and most of diodes. We also build an extensive
thermal library for use in conjunction with these power components and other
power module passives and circuit components. The ultimate goal is to provide
an improved electrical and thermal simulation capability for power module
designs, especially for those that use the nascent SiC power components.
The platform enables comprehensive design which
self-consistently employs physics-based behavioral descriptions,
SPICE models, thermal management and electromagnetic effects. This
provides a vertically integrated and predictive system design from
the device to the module levels. The enabling platform is then used
to create customer specific prototypes for key high-performance SiC
Our partner the U.S. Army Research Laboratory is supporting and
assisting us in the design of this software tool, and will also act as
test sites for the beta version. We anticipate to have the software
ready for early release soon.