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Gate driver for high power SiC modules: design considerations, development and experimental validation

Alejandro Rujas, Víctor M. López, Luis Mir, Txomin Nieva

IET Power Electronics


The introduction the full-SiC (full silicon carbide) high power modules in the power semiconductors market makes necessary the development of new gate drivers suitable for its switching characteristics. The design considerations, challenges and implementation for high power SiC metal-oxide-semiconductor field-effect transistors is presented in this study. Aspects like voltage clamping, overcurrent/short-circuit protection, different power supply voltage levels, gate circuit and soft off-switching are addressed, considering the particularities that must be managed with SiC devices, like stray inductance and oscillations in switching transitions. All the gate drivers parts are designed without using programmable elements, that increase the complexity and cost of the gate driver design. Experimental results of the gate driver behaviour are also presented to validate the design. The approach proposes a modular gate driver divided into two parts. Firstly, a base driver (BD) board that depends on the electrical characteristics of the SiC module. Secondly, a core driver (CD) board, which can be considered `universal' for any SiC power module with the same voltage operation level. For experimental validation, the proposed gate driver (BD + CD boards) is tested in two different power converters: a 50 kVA DC-AC inverter and a 100 kVA interleaved DC-DC converter.

DOI / link: https://doi.org/10.1049/iet-pel.2017.0535 

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