High-Temperature Analog and Mixed-Signal Integrated Circuits in Bipolar Silicon Carbide Technology

Abstract: Silicon carbide (SiC) integrated circuits (ICs) can enable the emergence of robust and reliable systems, including data acquisition and on-site control for extreme environments with high temperature and high radiation such as deep earth drilling, space and aviation, electric and hybrid vehicles, and combustion engines. In particular, SiC ICs provide significant benefit by reducing power dissipation and leakage current at temperatures above 300 °C compared to the Si counterpart. In fact, Si-based ICs have a limited maximum operating temperature which is around 300 °C for silicon on insulator (SOI). Owing to its superior material properties such as wide bandgap, three times larger than Silicon, and low intrinsic carrier concentration, SiC is an excellent candidate for high-temperature applications. In this thesis, analog and mixed-signal circuits have been implemented using SiC bipolar technology, including bandgap references, amplifiers, a master-slave comparator, an 8-bit R-2R ladder-based digital-to-analog converter (DAC), a 4-bit flash analog-to-digital converter (ADC), and a 10-bit successive-approximation-register (SAR) ADC. Spice models were developed at binned temperature points from room temperature to 500 °C, to simulate and predict the circuits’ behavior with temperature variation. The high-temperature performance of the fabricated chips has been investigated and verified over a wide temperature range from 25 °C to 500 °C. A stable gain of 39 dB was measured in the temperature range from 25 °C up to 500 °C for the inverting operational amplifier with ideal closed-loop gain of 40 dB. Although the circuit design in an immature SiC bipolar technology is challenging due to the low current gain of the transistors and lack of complete AC models, various circuit techniques have been applied to mitigate these problems. This thesis details the challenges faced and methods employed for device modeling, integrated circuit design, layout implementation and finally performance verification using on-wafer characterization of the fabricated SiC ICs over a wide temperature range.