We live and work in a world of silicon, but silicon is not the ideal substance for everything we do. Sometimes we make compromises and other times only the best will do. Other materials such as Gallium Arsenide are used quite extensively in microwave and radar applications and other areas that require very high frequencies, due to the higher electron velocities and mobility associated with the material. On the downside (among other issues) is that these are power hungry devices. Today, I received a press release talking about another material – and one that surprised me – Silicon Carbide (SiC). I have always known this as a dopant for steel, as a grinding material and use in brakes and clutches! But it appears that SiC has been use as a semiconductor since 1907 in high-voltage and high-temperature applications.
So the folks at Cree have just announced their first commercial SiC MOSFET power devices along with a full SPICE model for it. Using the new SPICE model, circuit designers can evaluate the benefits Cree's SiC Z-FETT MOSFETs may provide for achieving a higher level of efficiency than is possible with conventional silicon power switching devices for comparably-rated devices.
Cree's behavior-based, temperature-dependent SPICE model is compatible with the LT spice simulation program and enables power electronics design engineers to reliably simulate the advanced switching performance of Cree CMF10120D and CMF20120D Z-FETs in board-level circuit designs.
Cree SiC MOSFETs are capable of delivering switching frequencies that are up to 10 times higher than IGBT-based solutions. Their higher switching frequencies can enable smaller magnetic and capacitive elements, thereby shrinking the overall size, weight and cost of power electronics systems.
This SiC MOSFET SPICE model adds to Cree's comprehensive suite of design-in support tools, technical documentation, and reliability information to provide power electronics engineers with the design resources necessary to implement SiC power devices into the next generation of power systems. The Cree SiC MOSFET SPICE model is available for download at www.cree.com/power/mosfet.asp. In addition, customers can download published specifications and detailed design guidelines and request samples. For more information about Cree's SiC power devices, please visit www.cree.com/power.Brian Bailey
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