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Novel AC-Coupled Gate Driver for Ultrafast Switching of Normally Off SiC JFETs

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4 Author(s)
Wrzecionko, Benjamin ; Power Electron. Syst. Lab., ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland ; Bortis, D. ; Biela, J. ; Kolar, J.W.

Over the last years, more and more SiC power semiconductor switches have become available in order to prove their superior behavior. A very promising device is the 1200 V 30 A JFET manufactured by SemiSouth. It features a very low on-resistance per die area (2.8 mΩ-cm2), switching within 20 ns, normally off characteristic, high-temperature operation and has already been commercialized in contrast to many other SiC switches. To fully exploit the potential of the SiC normally off JFET, conventional gate drivers for unipolar devices must be adapted to this device due to its special requirements. During on-state, the gate voltage must not exceed 3 V, while a current of around 300 mA (depending on the desired on-resistance) must be fed into the gate; during switching operation, the transient gate-source voltage should be around ±15 V and the low threshold voltage of less than 0.7 V requires a high noise immunity which is a severe challenge as the device has a comparably low gate-source but high gate-drain capacitance. To meet these requirements, several concepts have been published recently. They deal with the challenges mentioned, but they still show certain limitations (e.g., frequency and duty cycle limitations or need for additional cooling due to high gate driver losses). In this paper, a novel gate driver consisting of only one standard gate driver IC, resistors, capacitors, and diodes is designed and experimentally validated. It supplies enough gate current for minimum on-resistance, allows fast switching operation, features a high noise immunity, and can be used for any duty cycle and typical switching frequencies without significant self-heating.

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Power Electronics, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:27 ,  Issue: 7 )