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Understanding silicon carbide’s vast potential

Silicon carbide may hold the keys to the future of power electronics – all puns intended. But why is this the case, and why would you use it outside of Electric Vehicles (EVs) or other high-power applications. Amr from Vishay explains it all.

It’s been a year since ipXchange caught up with our good friend Amr from Vishay, so at PCIM Europe 2024, Guy got an update on the current state of Silicon Carbide (SiC) and how the market is responding to this technology in power electronics applications.

As Amr explains, the past 10-14 years have put increasingly higher demands on the power and heat dissipation requirements in far more than just the automotive sphere. New technologies like silicon carbide have enabled higher power densities, thermal conductivity, and performance at a given power level than traditional silicon can provide.

In the case of EVs, it takes a lot of power to move or charge such an object, and traditional silicon power electronics struggle to perform at a level that meets modern requirements or expectations in such an application. It is just not efficient enough to do it well, or indeed at all…

With the cost of SiC technology and its development starting to come down, consumer electronics, datacentres, industrial applications, and solar energy systems are all starting to see the benefits of higher power efficiency in smaller packages.

Why choose silicon carbide for your next design?

For those starting to think about using silicon carbide instead of traditional silicon in new designs, Amr advises that going from a 400 V to an 800 V EV system, to use a current trend as an example, means that you will have performance needs that require SiC technology to implement effectively; silicon carbide at higher working voltages performs better than silicon in both AC and DC architectures.

Silicon carbide components also allow you to remove a lot of the heat management infrastructure in your design, so this can save a lot of cost in the peripherals required when using traditional silicon, even if SiC components may seem to have a higher unit cost.

The removal of all this cooling infrastructure also shrinks your design, hence silicon carbide affords higher power density both at the chip and at the product level.

Performance parameters are the key to determining whether you need silicon carbide and what SiC technology is best for your application. Vishay has developed its products in collaboration with the requirements of the market, so the best way to get started with silicon carbide is to talk to Amr and his team about your requirements.

Follow the link to the board page below for an example of what silicon carbide technology looks like at the spec level, and if you want to chat with Amr about a project, fill in the form, and ipXchange will get you connected.

Keep designing!

Enjoyed this chat with Amr? Check out ipXchange’s previous interview from PCIM 2023:

When the big boys acquire leading-edge technology: Silicon carbide tailored to your application

Vishay Gen 3 650 V SiC Schottky Diodes

Need an example of the performance boost afforded to you by silicon carbide?

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