Design Challenges of SiC Devices for Low- and Medium- Voltage DC-DC Converters


Georges Engelmann, Markus Neubert, Alexander Sewergin, Rik W. De Doncker; IEEJ Journal of Industry Applications, December 2018, Volume 8, Number 3, Pages 1-7



Silicon carbide (SiC) devices are considered as key enablers for the development of highly efficient and compact dc-dc converters for low- and medium-voltage applications. Besides their high temperature capability and low conduction losses, they provide superior switching characteristics. This paper emphasizes the design challenges of SiC devices in the low- and medium-voltage ranges arising from their fast switching speeds. First, detailed measurement results on the switching characteristics of 1200V SiC devices and the different leakage inductances are presented. The results are assessed with regard to the switching losses as well as the transient voltage and current overshoots. The impact on the switching behavior as a function of leakage inductances is shown. The leakage inductances also influence the resonance frequency of the power module and dc-dc converters. The determination of the size of the EMI filters is a crucial design aspect. Its significance is demonstrated using an 800V dc-dc converter with commercially available SiC MOSFETs. In addition, zero-voltage switching is emphasized to reduce the impact of the parasitic elements of the module on the switching behavior. However, the performance of 10kV SiC MOSFETs in a medium-voltage dc-dc converter shows that a significant amount of commutation energy is required to ensure a successful soft-switching transition.