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Special Issue "Volume II: Semiconductor Power Devices"

A special issue of Energies (ISSN 1996-1073). This special issue belongs to the section "Advanced Energy Materials".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2019).

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Alberto Castellazzi

Power Electronics, Machines and Control Group, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK
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Interests: semiconductor power devices; thermal management; modeling; power converter topologies
Guest Editor
Dr. Andrea Irace

Department of Electrical Engineering and Information Technologies, University of Naples Federico II, Naples, Italy
Website | E-Mail
Interests: power devices; out-of-SOA operation; electro-thermal interactions; non-conventional characterization techniques

Special Issue Information

Guest Editorial Board:

  • Marina Antoniou, University of Cambridge, UK
  • Chih-Fang Huang, National Tsing Hua University, Taiwan
  • Ferdinando Iucolano, ST Microelectronics, Italy
  • Pete Losee, UnitedSiC, USA
  • Andrei Mihaila, ABB, Switzerland
  • Takafumi Okuda, Kyoto University, Japan
  • Martin Pfost, TU Dortmund, Germany
  • Michele Riccio, University of Naples “Federico II”, Italy
  • Frederic Richardeau, CNRS, University of Toulouse, France
  • Akio Shima, Hitachi, Japan
  • Kenichiro Tanaka, Panasonic, Japan
Dear Colleagues,

Wide-band-gap (WBG) semiconductors enable a radical change in the optimization trade-offs typical of power device design. For instance, fully-drift-current-based high voltage (>600 V) components with good on-state performance and excellent switching capability are feasible and have been amply demonstrated. Bipolar solutions, on the other hand, enable achievement of unprecedented ultra-high voltage ratings (>10 kV), opening up radically new system level development options; a number of research samples have been presented over the past few years, too. In addition, WBG technology offers high temperature operation capability, and, with it, the potential for disruptive progress beyond state-of-the-art in the volumetric and gravimetric power density that can be realistically targeted in the development of power conversion systems.

Over the past few years, the technology has transitioned from a research exercise to a commercial reality in the instance of silicon carbide (SiC) and gallium nitride (GaN), while other materials have further developed (e.g., diamond, C) or have been newly introduced (gallium oxide, Ga2O3). While it is yet not fully clear where WBG will replace silicon (Si) and where they will co-exist, some application domains pivotal of societal infrastructure are by now acknowledged as strategically relevant for its large market deployment. At the same time, a number of aspects still require dedicated attention, including the development of bespoke packaging solutions, reliability enhancement and lifetime assessment and validation methodologies.

This Special Issue aims to gather contributions defining the state-of-the-art in WBG power device design, fabrication technology, packaging and thermal management, application and reliability validation: Original contributions and review papers alike are solicited in all relevant areas.

Dr. Alberto Castellazzi
Dr. Andrea Irace
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Energies is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Silicon carbide (SiC)
  • Gallium nitride (GaN)
  • Gallium Oxide (Ga2O3)
  • Diamond (C)
  • semiconductor power devices
  • MOSFETs
  • HEMTs
  • power converters
  • power modules
  • packaging
  • thermal management/cooling
  • reliability

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Metal/Semiconductor Barrier Properties of Non-Recessed Ti/Al/Ti and Ta/Al/Ta Ohmic Contacts on AlGaN/GaN Heterostructures
Energies 2019, 12(14), 2655; https://doi.org/10.3390/en12142655
Received: 16 May 2019 / Revised: 21 June 2019 / Accepted: 3 July 2019 / Published: 10 July 2019
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Abstract
This paper compares the metal/semiconductor barrier height properties of non-recessed Ti/Al/Ti and Ta/Al/Ta contacts on AlGaN/GaN heterostructures. Both contacts exhibited a rectifying behavior after deposition and after annealing at temperatures up to 550 °C. The ohmic behavior was reached after annealing at 600 [...] Read more.
This paper compares the metal/semiconductor barrier height properties of non-recessed Ti/Al/Ti and Ta/Al/Ta contacts on AlGaN/GaN heterostructures. Both contacts exhibited a rectifying behavior after deposition and after annealing at temperatures up to 550 °C. The ohmic behavior was reached after annealing at 600 °C. High-resolution morphological and electrical mapping by conductive atomic force microscopy showed a flat surface for both contacts, with the presence of isolated hillocks, which had no significant impact on the contact resistance. Structural analyses indicated the formation of the Al3Ti and Al3Ta phases upon annealing. Furthermore, a thin interfacial TiN layer was observed in the Ti/Al/Ti samples, which is likely responsible for a lower barrier and a better specific contact resistance (ρc = 1.6 × 10−4 Ωcm2) with respect to the Ta/Al/Ta samples (ρc = 4.0 × 10−4 Ωcm2). The temperature dependence of the specific contact resistance was described by a thermionic field emission mechanism, determining barrier height values in the range of 0.58–0.63 eV. These results were discussed in terms of the different microstructures of the interfaces in the two systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Volume II: Semiconductor Power Devices)
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Open AccessArticle
Design of Diamond Power Devices: Application to Schottky Barrier Diodes
Energies 2019, 12(12), 2387; https://doi.org/10.3390/en12122387
Received: 17 May 2019 / Revised: 14 June 2019 / Accepted: 18 June 2019 / Published: 21 June 2019
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Abstract
Owing to its outstanding electro-thermal properties, such as the highest thermal conductivity (22 W/(cm∙K) at room temperature), high hole mobility (2000 cm2/(V∙s)), high critical electric field (10 MV/cm) and large band gap (5.5 eV), diamond represents the ultimate semiconductor for high [...] Read more.
Owing to its outstanding electro-thermal properties, such as the highest thermal conductivity (22 W/(cm∙K) at room temperature), high hole mobility (2000 cm2/(V∙s)), high critical electric field (10 MV/cm) and large band gap (5.5 eV), diamond represents the ultimate semiconductor for high power and high temperature power applications. Diamond Schottky barrier diodes are good candidates for short-term implementation in power converters due to their relative maturity. Nonetheless, diamond as a semiconductor for power devices leads to specificities such as incomplete dopant ionization at room temperature and above, and the limited availability of implantation techniques. This article presents such specificities and their impacts on the optimal design of diamond Schottky barrier diodes. First, the tradeoff between ON-state and OFF-state is discussed based on 1D analytical models. Then, 2D numerical studies show the optimal design of floating metal rings to improve the effective breakdown voltage. Both analyses show that the doping of the drift region must be reduced to reduce leakage currents and to increase edge termination efficiency, leading to better figures of merit. The obtained improvements in breakdown voltage are compared with fabrication challenges and the impacts on forward voltage drop. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Volume II: Semiconductor Power Devices)
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Open AccessArticle
Self-Sustained Turn-Off Oscillation of SiC MOSFETs: Origin, Instability Analysis, and Prevention
Energies 2019, 12(11), 2211; https://doi.org/10.3390/en12112211
Received: 30 March 2019 / Revised: 30 April 2019 / Accepted: 21 May 2019 / Published: 11 June 2019
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Abstract
This paper presents a comprehensive investigation on the self-sustained oscillation of silicon carbide (SiC) MOSFETs. At first, based on the double pulse switching test, it is identified that the self-sustained oscillation of SiC MOSFETs can be triggered by two distinct test conditions. To [...] Read more.
This paper presents a comprehensive investigation on the self-sustained oscillation of silicon carbide (SiC) MOSFETs. At first, based on the double pulse switching test, it is identified that the self-sustained oscillation of SiC MOSFETs can be triggered by two distinct test conditions. To investigate the oscillatory criteria of the two types of self-sustained oscillation, a small-signal ac model is introduced to obtain the transfer function of the oscillatory system. The instability of the oscillation is thereby determined by the two conjugate pole pairs of the transfer function. By analyzing the damping ratios of the two pole pairs, the parametric sensitivity of various circuit and device’s parameters on the two types of self-sustained oscillation are obtained. The analyses reveal the oscillatory criteria of the self-sustained oscillation for SiC MOSFETs. Based on the oscillatory criteria, necessary methods are proposed to prevent the oscillation. The proposed oscillation suppression methods are validated by the experiment at the end of the paper. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Volume II: Semiconductor Power Devices)
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Open AccessArticle
Case Study about the Energy Absorption Capacity of Metal Oxide Varistors with Thermal Coupling
Energies 2019, 12(3), 536; https://doi.org/10.3390/en12030536
Received: 10 January 2019 / Revised: 31 January 2019 / Accepted: 1 February 2019 / Published: 8 February 2019
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Abstract
Metal oxide varistors are applied today inside modern surge arresters for overvoltage protection for all voltage levels. Their main issue is the thermal activation of their crossing current, which could lead to complete destruction by thermal runaway. This article presents a new technological [...] Read more.
Metal oxide varistors are applied today inside modern surge arresters for overvoltage protection for all voltage levels. Their main issue is the thermal activation of their crossing current, which could lead to complete destruction by thermal runaway. This article presents a new technological solution developed in order to increase the thermal stability of metal oxide varistors. It consists in connecting in parallel two or more similar varistors (for dividing their current), having a thermal coupling between them (for equalizing their temperatures and forcing them to act together and simultaneously as much as possible). Starting from a finite element computer model performed for each situation (varistor standalone or parallel), up to real measurements, the thermal stability of the equipment was analyzed in permanent and impulse regime. Experiments were carried out in the same conditions. Experimental data obtain from two disk varistors corresponds very well to simulations, proving that parallel connection of varistors, combined with a thermal exchange between them is an efficient technical solution for thermal stability improvement, even if not apparently economically justified. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Volume II: Semiconductor Power Devices)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Characterization of SiO2/4H-SiC Interfaces in 4H-SiC MOSFETs: A Review
Energies 2019, 12(12), 2310; https://doi.org/10.3390/en12122310
Received: 21 May 2019 / Revised: 11 June 2019 / Accepted: 12 June 2019 / Published: 17 June 2019
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Abstract
This paper gives an overview on some state-of-the-art characterization methods of SiO2/4H-SiC interfaces in metal oxide semiconductor field effect transistors (MOSFETs). In particular, the work compares the benefits and drawbacks of different techniques to assess the physical parameters describing the electronic [...] Read more.
This paper gives an overview on some state-of-the-art characterization methods of SiO2/4H-SiC interfaces in metal oxide semiconductor field effect transistors (MOSFETs). In particular, the work compares the benefits and drawbacks of different techniques to assess the physical parameters describing the electronic properties and the current transport at the SiO2/SiC interfaces (interface states, channel mobility, trapping phenomena, etc.). First, the most common electrical characterization techniques of SiO2/SiC interfaces are presented (e.g., capacitance- and current-voltage techniques, transient capacitance, and current measurements). Then, examples of electrical characterizations at the nanoscale (by scanning probe microscopy techniques) are given, to get insights on the homogeneity of the SiO2/SiC interface and the local interfacial doping effects occurring upon annealing. The trapping effects occurring in SiO2/4H-SiC MOS systems are elucidated using advanced capacitance and current measurements as a function of time. In particular, these measurements give information on the density (~1011 cm−2) of near interface oxide traps (NIOTs) present inside the SiO2 layer and their position with respect to the interface with SiC (at about 1–2 nm). Finally, it will be shown that a comparison of the electrical data with advanced structural and chemical characterization methods makes it possible to ascribe the NIOTs to the presence of a sub-stoichiometric SiOx layer at the interface. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Volume II: Semiconductor Power Devices)
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