Silicon Carbide (SiC) is characterized by a polymorphism structure in which there are 250 different crystal forms. Initially, when Edward Goodrich Acheson patented the method of making silicon carbide in powder form in 1893, it was used for abrasive applications. With the advancement of material technology, silicon carbide has been developed in different forms
Even if there are known weaknesses of SiC Schottky diodes while being biased at high voltage in dense ions environments, they can still be the best option for certain very demanding operational conditions. The compatibility of these devices is analysed in this technical note.
The use of wide-bandgap materials, such as SiC, enables higher switching speeds and higher breakdown voltages, allowing for smaller, faster, more reliable, and more efficient power devices, and that’s why it is of interest in Space applications, where the operating conditions are extreme (high temperature and high radiation levels), is growing fast.
The components are available in single-channel ATN-CNM-300S-2 and two channels ATN-CNM-300S-4; each channel has two SiC Schottky diodes in series, increasing the maximum safe blocking voltage of the device while operating under heavy ions. Actual flight radiation conditions can be tested under request as already performed successfully for the ESA-BepiColombo mission with a single die the previous version.
Alter RADNEXT Transnational Access reviewers have accepted technology HISiC (Heavy Ions tolerant SiC diodes configurations) project proposal with H2020 funding.
SiC weakness under heavy ions radiation is not a secret. The radiation improved SiC multi-die configuration modules will be tested in this project, demonstrating SOAs (Safe Operating Area) up to voltages requested by industry.
Silicon Schottky diodes are widely used in applications where high-speed switching is required to achieve more efficient systems due to their fast recovery time and low forward voltage. However, this type of diode has a lower reverse voltage (with a maximum typically around 100 V) than conventional rectifier diodes. Furthermore, the leakage current losses are higher.
The Silicon Carbide power diodes were specifically designed for protection of solar cells arrays in solar panels mounted in satellites and space exploration modules. The first batches of devices are currently used for two European Space Agency missions, BepiColombo and Solar Orbiter.