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What is a Silicon Carbide MOSFET?

May 01, 2019
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What is a MOSFET?

MOSFETs (Metal Oxide Semiconductor Field-Effect Transistors) are one of the transistor switch building blocks of modern electronics — many electronic products we interact with include MOSFETs. Without these essential electronic components, designing new, cutting-edge devices wouldn’t be possible. While historically the semiconducting material in MOSFETs has always been silicon (Si), this has changed in recent years as the outstanding capabilities of silicon carbide (SiC) MOSFETs have been proven not only in the laboratory, but in the field as well.


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Power transistors are widely used in electronics for applications involving anything from power supplies and the control systems on electric vehicles to sustainable power applications that may involve solar, wind, or thermal energy. MOSFETs also can be found in radio systems, including audio-frequency power amplifiers for sound systems.

What is a silicon carbide MOSFET?

Silicon carbide is now the dominating semiconducting material used in MOSFETs because it provides several advantages over silicon. When compared to silicon as a semiconductor, silicon carbide uses energy more efficiently, can conduct generated heat away from the device more easily, will support a higher current density, performs more reliably at high temperatures, and can handle a higher voltage rating at the same thickness.

A silicon carbide MOSFET was first created by Wolfspeed about 20 years ago. Compared to silicon MOSFETs, these MOSFETs provide higher temperature operation, an increased critical breakdown strength (10x that of silicon), higher switching frequencies, and reduced switching losses. As a result, devices and components that use silicon carbide MOSFETs are more efficient, have a higher current density, are easier to keep cool, use smaller peripheral components (such as inductors, filters, capacitors, and transformers), and are more compact in size. Silicon carbide MOSFETs also are highly reliable, more lightweight, and more rugged than their more traditional silicon counterparts.

Silicon Carbide MOSFETs: Proven Reliability and Performance

Wolfspeed silicon carbide MOSFETs have a proven track record for outstanding performance and reliability in both amplifier and switching applications. You can find them in electric vehicle (EV) battery chargers, PV (photovoltaic) inverters, and high voltage DC/DC converters where they offer reduced losses and a significantly smaller system footprint. They are a common sight in circuitry related to the use of renewable energy. Silicon carbide MOSFETs are ideal for sustainable server power and general power conversion efficiency. In all of these applications, they offer better performance at a smaller size compared to an equivalent silicon MOSFETs.

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