Mission Leader - SiC GE Research, NY, United States
The world is moving towards more and more electrification of transportation, hybrid systems, and renewable energy. The power electronics industry is constantly innovating to enable this electrification revolution. Wide bandgap semiconductors are one prime example of the advancements the industry has made in the last two decades. Flexible Hybrid Electronics (FHE) technologies have similarly made significant advancements in the last two decades and largely focused on sensors and flexible electronics. FHE for high power and high performance power electronics is largely unexplored. With innovative co-design of power modules with FHE technology, and the application of advanced materials and manufacturing processes, SWaP-C (size, weight, and power – cost) improvements, new form factors, and new features/capabilities in power electronics can be achieved. This research aims to bridge the gap between current FHE technologies and high power electronics, where power electronics modules typically conduct 10s to 100s of amperes of current, block 100s to 1000s of volts, and operate in harsh environments (≥150°C, 10+ year life, shock and vibration). We will discuss the latest results from our work on the design, fabrication, and characterization of SiC power devices and modules packaged using direct write technology. We will discuss the material considerations and present simulation and experimental data to support the co-design of SiC power modules using FHE techniques. In our work, we identified a design space for 1.2kV – 3.3kV SiC MOSFET devices and developed specifications for dielectric materials and conductors that would be used to package the SiC devices. We performed material characterization over temperature of these candidate dielectrics and demonstrated their breakdown strengths to be sufficient to package up to 3,3kV SiC MOSFETs with the appropriate insulation thicknesses and shapes. Functional test vehicles using SiC MOSFETS from 1.2kV-3.3kV were fabricated and tested to full voltage and high currents. Results from the testing will be presented in this paper and we will also summarize the current gaps and future work that is needed to bridge the gap to realize a FHE SiC power module.