Simulation and Electrical Evaluation of 4H-SiC Junction Field Effect Transistors and Junction Barrier Schottky Diodes with Buried Grids

University dissertation from Stockholm : KTH Royal Institute of Technology

Abstract: Silicon carbide (SiC) has higher breakdown field strength than silicon (Si), which enables thinner and more highly doped drift layers compared to Si. Consequently, the power losses can be reduced compared to Si-based power conversion systems. Moreover, SiC allows the power conversion systems to operate at high temperatures up to 250 oC. With such expectations, SiC is considered as the material of choice for modern power semiconductor devices for high efficiencies, high temperatures, and high power densities. Besides the material benefits, the typeof the power device also plays an important role in determining the system performance.Compared to the SiC metal-oxide semiconductor field-effect transistor (MOSFET) and bipolar junction transistor (BJT), the SiC junction field-effect transistor (JFET) is a very promising power switch, being a voltage-controlled device without oxide reliability issues. Its channel iscontrolled by a p-n junction. However, the present JFETs are not optimized yet with regard to on-state resistance, controllability of threshold voltage, and Miller capacitance.In this thesis, the state-of-the-art SiC JFETs are introduced with buried-grid (BG) technology.The buried grid is formed in the channel through epitaxial growth and etching processes. Through simulation studies, the new concepts of normally-on and -off BG JFETs with 1200 V blocking capability are investigated in terms of static and dynamic characteristics. Additionally, two case studies are performed in order to evaluate total losses on the system level. These investigations can be provided to a power circuit designer for fully exploiting the benefit of power devices. Additionally, they can serve as accurate device models and guidelines considering the switching performance.The BG concept utilized for JFETs has been also used for further development of SiC junctionbarrier Schottky (JBS) diodes. Especially, this design concept gives a great impact on high temperature operation due to efficient shielding of the Schottky interface from high electric fields. By means of simulations, the device structures with implanted and epitaxial p-grid formations, respectively, are compared regarding threshold voltage, blocking voltage, and maximum electric field at the Schottky interface. The results show that the device with an epitaxial grid can be more efficient at high temperatures than that with an implanted grid. To realize this concept, the device with implanted grid was optimized using simulations, fabricated and verified through experiments. The BG JBS diode clearly shows that the leakage current is four orders of magnitude lower than that of a pure Schottky diode at an operation temperature of 175 oC and 2 to 3 orders of magnitude lower than that of commercial JBS diodes.Finally, commercialized vertical trench JFETs are evaluated both in simulations andexperiments, while it is important to determine the limits of the existing JFETs and study their performance in parallel operation. Especially, the influence of uncertain parameters of the devices and the circuit configuration on the switching performance are determined through simulations and experiments.