United Silicon Carbide Wins Prestigious R&D100 Award for 6.5kV Enhancement-Mode SiC Devices

United Silicon Carbide Inc. (USCi) teamed with Sandia National Laboratories and the U.S. Dept. of Energy, Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, Energy Storage Program to develop a 6.5kV rated Enhancement-Mode SiC JFET switch that demonstrates 20X lower switching losses than existing 6.5kV rated Si-IGBTs. The product was recognized in the IT/Electrical category by R&D Magazine as one of the R&D 100 Awards for 2015 that distinguish the year’s top 100 technology products from industry, academia, and government-sponsored research, ranging from chemistry to materials to biomedical breakthroughs.

Over the last 4 years, USCi has been productizing 1200V depletion-mode and enhancement mode SiC Junction Field Effect Transistors (JFET) devices using a novel pure-play foundry model approach with support from the Air Force Research Lab and Dr. Jim Scofield. The product platform was extended to higher voltages to demonstrate 6.5kV devices when USCi partnered with Dr. Imre Gyuk of the DOE Energy Storage Program and Dr. Stan Atcitty of Sandia National Laboratories. USCi combined advanced materials with novel manufacturing ideas to build a new product for significantly more efficient power conversion. Harnessing the unique features of silicon carbide, this first of its kind device allows higher voltage switching, and reductions in switching losses to significantly boost the efficiency and reliability of power generation and power conversion. The 6.5kV Enhancement-Mode Silicon Carbide JFET Switch addresses the fact that rising global energy usage has placed unprecedented demands on an aging electrical grid, which must be revolutionized to not only become more efficient, but become more reliable through the integration of renewables and energy storage systems. The key to enabling next-generation power-conversion technology lies in not only using high-voltage SiC devices and reducing current throughout a system, but in greatly reducing the switching losses. It reduces switching losses over that of Si-IGBTs by a factor of 20, and exhibits the fastest turn-on and turn-off of any 6.5kV-rated power module.