Ranbir Singh

GeneSiC Semiconductor Inc.

SiC power devices for vehicle applications

An optimum design for a drivetrain inverter in an electric vehicle (EV) or hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) requires power semiconductor transistors and rectifiers with the following specifications: 1. Ability to operate at bus voltages in the 400-700 V range and continuous currents up to 250 A 2. Operating temperatures > 200°C 3. Low energy loss at extremely high switching frequencies 4. Competitive pricing to gain entry into the cost-sensitive automotive market. While conventional silicon power transistors and diodes satisfy conditions (1) and (4) from the above list, the narrow Si bandgap (1.1 eV) results in a modest 150°C maximum operating temperature. Furthermore, excessively high switching energy losses in silicon power devices limits their maximum operating frequency to 10’s of kHz, which is the major bottleneck for reducing the size of the power control module. The major roadblock to the insertion of SiC power devices into cost-sensitive segments of the power electronics industry such as the automotive sector is the high price point of the SiC power devices, as compared to the entrenched Si technology. The high SiC price-point is directly related to the high SiC manufacturing costs. SiC power devices are either fabricated in captive foundries which are only 20-30% loaded or in shared-use R&D foundries

About the Speaker

Dr. Ranbir Singh, received a Ph.D. and MS degrees in Electrical and Computer Engineering, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, and B. Tech from Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi. He founded GeneSiC Semiconductor Inc. in 2004. Prior to that he conducted research on SiC power devices first at Cree Inc, and then at the NIST, Gaithersburg, MD. In 2012, EE Times named Dr. Singh as among "Forty Innovators building the foundations of next generation electronics industry.” In 2011, he won the R&D100 award towards his efforts in commercializing 6.5kV SiC Thyristors. He has published over 160 journal and conference papers, is an author on 28 issued US patents, and has authored a book.