SiC High Temperature Electronics for Next Generation Aircraft Controls Systems PUBLIC ACCESS

[+] Author Affiliations
John F. Perkins, Richard H. Hopkins, Charles D. Brandt, Anant K. Agarwal, Suresh Seshadri, Richard R. Siergiej

Westinghouse Science & Technology Center, Pittsburgh, PA

Paper No. 96-GT-106, pp. V005T15A013; 7 pages
  • ASME 1996 International Gas Turbine and Aeroengine Congress and Exhibition
  • Volume 5: Manufacturing Materials and Metallurgy; Ceramics; Structures and Dynamics; Controls, Diagnostics and Instrumentation; Education; General
  • Birmingham, UK, June 10–13, 1996
  • Conference Sponsors: International Gas Turbine Institute
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-7876-7
  • Copyright © 1996 by ASME


Several organizations, including Westinghouse, CREE, and ATM, as well as researchers in Japan and Europe, are working to develop SiC power devices for reliable, high power and high temperature environments in military, industrial, utility, and automotive applications. Other organizations, such as NASA Lewis and several universities, are also doing important basic work on basic SiC technology development. It has been recognized for two decades that the superior properties of SiC lead to range of devices with higher power, greater temperature tolerance, and significantly more radiation hardness than silicon or GaAs. This combination of superior thermal and electrical properties results in SiC devices that can operate at up to ten times the power density of Si devices for a given volume.

Recent research has focused on the development of vertical metal oxide semiconductor field effect transistor (VMOSFET) power device technology, and complementary high speed, temperature-tolerant rectifier-diodes for power applications. We are also evaluating applications for field control thyristors (FCT) and MOS turn-off thyristors (MTO). The technical issues to be resolved for these devices are also common to other power device structures. The present paper reviews the relative benefits of various power devices structures, with emphasis on how the special properties of SiC enhance the desirability of specific device configurations as compared to the Si-based versions of these devices. Progress in SiC material quality and recent power device research will be reviewed, and the potential for SiC-based devices to operate at much higher temperatures than Si-based devices, or with enhanced reliability at higher temperatures will be stressed. We have already demonstrated 1000V breakdown, current densities of 1 kA/cm2, and measurements up to 400°C in small diodes. The extension of this work will enable the implementation of highly distributed aircraft power control systems, as well as actuator and signal conditioning electronics for next generation engine sensors, by permitting electronic circuits, sensors and smart actuators to be mounted on or at the engine.

Copyright © 1996 by ASME
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