High Power Lateral Silicon Carbide Photoconductive Semiconductor Switches and Investigation of Degradation Mechanisms

Daniel Mauch, William Sullivan, Alan Bullick, Andreas Neuber, James Dickens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Scopus citations

Abstract

Several generations of high power, lateral, linear mode, intrinsically triggered 4H-SiC photoconductive semiconductor switch designs and their performance are presented. These switches were fabricated from high purity semi-insulating 4H-SiC samples measuring 12.7 mm × 12.7 mm × 0.36 mm and were able to block dc electric fields up to 370 kV/cm with leakage currents less than 10 μA without failure. Switching voltages and currents up to 26 kV and 450 A were achieved with these devices and ON-state resistances of 2 were achieved with 1 mJ of 355 nm laser energy (7 ns FWHM). After fewer than 100 high power switching cycles, these devices exhibited cracks near the metal/SiC interface. Experimental and simulation results investigating the root cause of this failure mechanism are also presented. These results strongly suggest that a transient spike in the magnitude of the electric field at the metal/SiC interface during both switch closing and opening is the dominant cause of the observed cracking.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7108031
Pages (from-to)2021-2031
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE Transactions on Plasma Science
Volume43
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015

Keywords

  • Photoconducting devices
  • photoconducting materials
  • photoconductivity
  • power semiconductor switches
  • pulse generation
  • pulsed-power system switches
  • semiconductor switches
  • silicon carbide.

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