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The Chips are on the Table, Now What? SiC System Optimization from the Chip Up

SiC MOSFETs and diodes are gaining market share in the power electronics industry. Many designs already utilize discrete SiC devices. However, the transition from discrete devices to higher power modules is not always easy. This presentation focuses on the proper utilization of SiC devices in power modules and higher power applications.

Originally presented: September 20, 2017
Duration: 1 hour
Presented by:


This presentation focuses on the proper way to select, analyze, and utilize high-performance SiC power modules. The presentation will provide a basic understanding of the power module including the basic features and how to best utilize them. We'll also provide a summary of current off-the-shelf designs as well as the custom design capability Wolfspeed can provide. An in-depth analysis of switching losses of current modules along with future concepts will be presented.

Next, an optimized gate driver design will be presented to enable the highest performance and protections of SiC modules. Gate drive voltage and power requirements will be discussed along with a simple over-current protection circuit. Key requirements such as minimization of isolation capacitance, immunity to common mode transient immunity, and signal integrity will also be covered.

Finally, we'll present an example system design. The example system is a basic three-phase building block that can be utilized as an active rectifier, inverter, or dc/dc converter. Two examples will be presented. First, a low-cost unoptimized example is presented to demonstrate the issues that can occur if proper design precautions are not taken. This system utilizes non-optimized bus bar which introduces high stray inductance. The next example utilizes an optimized bus structure which minimizes the inductance of the DC laminated bus structure enabling the maximum utilization of the SiC power modules.

After this presentation, the listener should have the proper background knowledge to select, evaluate, and design high performance SiC modules into their system.

Key Take-Aways

  • Benefits/challenges of SiC power modules
  • Understanding the loss mechanisms of SiC modules (MOSFET and diode switching and conduction losses)
  • Gate driver requirements for high-speed SiC modules (control, protections, and signaling)
  • Optimized bus structures to fully enable the high-speed, low-loss capability of SiC power modules


Daniel Martin, Ph.D., Electronic Design Engineer, Wolfspeed

Dr. Daniel Martin has been utilizing high-speed SiC and GaN devices in compact power electronic applications for over 5 years. His role at Wolfspeed has enabled insight into device behavior, optimized power module packaging, optimal gate driver control/design, and system level optimization to fully enable the utilization of SiC devices.

Ajith Wijenayake, Ph.D., Senior Applications Engineering Manager, Wolfspeed

Dr. Ajith Wijenayake has more than 28 years of combined experience in power conversion and drives for commercial, renewable and military applications. During his career, he has worked with Rockwell Automation, ABB, Danfoss, Beacon Power, American Superconductor and DRS-Power and Control technologies. Dr. Wijenayake has also worked in the renewable energy and energy storage research, development and applications of MW range drives. Presently, he is the senior engineering manager at Wolfspeed, focusing on SiC applications for automotive, EV traction, smart grid, energy storage, rail, and next generation all electric ship power conversion.