Evaluation of SiC JFET performance during repetitive pulsed switching into an unclamped inductive load

Bejoy N. Pushpakaran, Miguel Hinojosa, Stephen B. Bayne, Victor Veliadis, Damian Urciuoli, Nabil El-Hinnawy, Pavel Borodulin, Shalini Gupta, Charles Scozzie

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12 Scopus citations


Silicon carbide (SiC) depletion mode junction field-effect transistors (JFETs) are well suited for pulsed power applications as an opening switch due to their normally ON (N-ON) nature. To assess the robustness and breakdown energy tolerance of JFETs under pulsed conditions, they must be evaluated for breakdown energy capability before failure. This is very important for circuit breaker applications due to the large voltage spikes induced during the opening of the circuit breaker while it still conducts substantial load current. These voltage spikes can drive the JFET into the breakdown voltage regime and may result in device failure if the energy dissipation is above the tolerance limit. To determine the maximum avalanche energy of the device under repetitive pulsed conditions, a N-ON SiC JFET with a nominal rating of 1200 V/13 A was driven into punchthrough breakdown using an unclamped inductive switching (UIS) circuit. The testing comprised of 4000 repetitive pulses at 25 C case temperature at a fixed gate voltage of-20 V. The drain current was increased after every 1000 pulses to increase the energy dissipated. The JFET was able to withstand 1000 pulses at a maximum energy dissipation value of 1160 mJ before failure. The JFET triode breakdown characteristics were analyzed after every 1000 pulses. The peak UIS energy of 1160 mJ corresponded to an energy density of 16.6 J/cm2 based on their active area.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6774980
Pages (from-to)2968-2973
Number of pages6
JournalIEEE Transactions on Plasma Science
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2014


  • 1200 V
  • avalanche mode
  • depletion mode (DM)
  • junction field-effect transistor (JFET)
  • pulsed testing
  • silicon carbide (SiC)
  • unclamped inductive switching (UIS)


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