With the release of the Model 3 in 2018, Tesla became the first company to use SiC (silicon carbide) semiconductor field-effect transistors (MOSFETs) from STMicroelectronics. Compared with traditional inverters, the size is reduced by half. This article will give a comprehensive introduction to SiC inverter and show you its advantages and disadvantages.



1. What is SiC inverter?

An SiC inverter refers to an electrical power inverter that utilizes silicon carbide semiconductor technology in its structure. An inverter is a device that converts direct current (DC) into alternating current (AC). It is commonly used in a variety of applications including renewable energy systems, electric vehicles, industrial machinery and power electronics. ​

Silicon carbide is a compound semiconductor material. Compared with traditional silicon-based semiconductors, it has higher thermal conductivity and higher breakdown voltage, and superior switching characteristics. These properties make silicon carbide a good choice for power electronics such as 2000w inverter or 3000w inverter.  

SiC inverter is known for their high power density, which means they can deliver more power in a smaller size and lighter weight than traditional silicon-based inverters. This feature is particularly valuable in applications where size, weight and efficiency are critical, such as electric vehicles, where reduced weight and increased driving range are important considerations.


2. Pros and cons of SiC inverter


  • Wide bandgap: SiC has wide bandgap energy, which allows it to withstand higher voltages and temperatures than silicon. This property makes SiC ideal for high-power and high-temperature applications, as it enables higher operating frequencies and reduced power losses.
  • High breakdown voltage: The characteristics of high breakdown voltage enable SiC inverter to handle higher voltages without breakdown. This feature is advantageous in applications requiring high-voltage switching and power conversion, such as power wheels battery system and home solar power system.
  • Low switching losses: Compared with silicon devices, SiC devices have lower switching losses. They can turn on and off faster, thereby reducing power dissipation and improving overall energy efficiency. This advantage is particularly beneficial in high-frequency and high-power applications such as power electronics and best solar inverter.



  • High manufacturing costs: Compared with traditional silicon devices, the manufacturing process of SiC devices is more complex and requires specialized equipment. This results in increased manufacturing costs for SiC-based products. However, costs are expected to decrease over time as the technology matures and economies of scale are achieved.
  • Limited market availability: SiC devices have not yet reached the same level of market penetration as silicon devices due to their shorter commercialization time and lower production volumes. This may result in limited supply and higher prices for SiC-based components.
  • Relatively low current handling capability: Although SiC devices have advantages in voltage handling and thermal performance, their current handling capabilities are generally lower compared to silicon devices. This may limit its use in certain high current applications.
  • Gate drive circuit complexity: Due to the unique electrical characteristics of SiC devices, specialized gate drive circuitry is required. The higher voltages and faster switching speeds of SiC devices require precise gate control, which can be more complex to design and implement than silicon-based systems.
  • Substrate quality and defects: SiC substrates often have defects, or crystal imperfections, which may affect device performance and yield. Achieving high-quality and defect-free SiC substrates is challenging and increases production costs. Current ongoing research focuses on improving substrate quality and reducing defects to improve the overall performance and reliability of SiC devices. ​

Despite these weaknesses, SiC's advantages, such as high-temperature capability, high-voltage handling, and low switching losses, make it a semiconductor material with great future potential. Ongoing research and development work is focused on addressing these weaknesses and further optimizing SiC technology to unlock its full potential.


3. The process of designing SiC inverter

The process of designing an SiC inverter involves several key steps. Generally includes the following steps: ​

  • Requirements analysis: Determine the specific requirements of the SiC inverter, such as input voltage range, output power, efficiency targets, switching frequency, thermal considerations, and any specific application requirements. This analysis helps determine design specifications and constraints.
  • Topology selection: Common SiC inverter topologies include single-phase or three-phase configurations, such as half-bridge, full-bridge or multi- level topology. So we need to consider factors such as efficiency, power density, cost and complexity.
  • Component selection: Select appropriate SiC power semiconductor devices, gate drivers and passive components. Select SiC MOSFETs or SiC Schottky diodes based on voltage and current ratings, switching characteristics and thermal considerations. Choose a gate driver that is compatible with SiC devices to ensure reliable and efficient operation.
  • Circuit design: Design the circuit of the SiC inverter, including power stage, gate drive circuitry and protection features. Consider critical circuits such as gate drive voltage levels, gate resistance, snubber circuits, and overcurrent/overvoltage protection mechanisms. Use simulation tools to model and verify circuit designs. 
  • Control system design: This involves designing control algorithms, implementing pulse-width modulation (PWM) techniques, and incorporating feedback loops for voltage and current regulation. Consider the stability, dynamic response and protection functions of the system. Simulation and modeling tools can help validate and optimize the control systems.
  • PCB layout and thermal management: Consider high-frequency switching, noise reduction, and efficient power routing. Pay attention to thermal management techniques to ensure adequate heat dissipation, such as adding heatsinks, thermal vias and optimizing airflow. ​
  • Prototyping and testing: Make SiC inverter prototypes based on the design and perform thorough testing, including functional testing, electrical performance characterization, efficiency measurement and thermal analysis. Iteratively refine the design based on test results and make necessary adjustments.
  • Compliance and validation: Ensure that the SiC inverter design complies with relevant safety standards, electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) requirements and automotive industry regulations. Conduct verification testing to ensure the SiC inverter meets expected performance, efficiency and reliability goals. ​
  • Manufacturing and production: Once the design is verified, prepare the SiC inverter for manufacturing and production. Work with manufacturers, suppliers and assembly partners to produce final products.


4. The process of manufacturing SiC inverter

The manufacturing process of SiC inverter involves fabricating and assembling various components. It generally includes the following steps: ​

  • Fabrication of SiC power semiconductors: This process begins with the fabrication of SiC power semiconductor devices, such as SiC Morse tubes or SiC Schottky diodes. This involves several steps, including wafer preparation, epitaxial growth of the SiC layer, doping, lithography, etching and deposition of metal contacts of metal contacts. The specific manufacturing process depends on the type and design of the SiC inverter.
  • PCB manufacturing: The PCB manufacturing process includes preparing the substrate, applying copper layers through etching and plating, drilling holes for component mounting, and applying solder mask, and silkscreen mark.
  • Component assembly: Place and solder SiC power semiconductor devices, gate drivers, passive components and other electronic components onto the PCB. This is usually done using surface-mount technology (SMT) or through-hole technology (THT). Automated equipment or pick-and-place machines are often used for accurate component placement.
  • Soldering and reflow: Soldering the assembled PCB to establish reliable electrical connections. This usually involves reflow soldering, which involves heating the PCB to melt the solder, creating solid solder joints between components and PCB pads. Use controlled temperature profiles to ensure proper welding.
  • Testing and quality assurance: Strict testing and quality inspection should be performed on the assembled SiC inverter. This includes functional testing, electrical performance qualification and thermal analysis. A variety of test equipment and methods are used to verify the performance, efficiency and reliability of the inverter to ensure it meets specified requirements.
  • Enclosure and packaging: Encapsulate the SiC inverter circuit in a protective case. The enclosure provides mechanical support, protection from external environmental factors, and electrical insulation. Cooling mechanisms such as heat sinks or fans may be included to handle the heat generated during operation.
  • Final assembly and testing: Complete the final assembly of the SiC inverter by integrating the housing, connectors, wiring and any other required components. Additional testing is performed to verify the performance, efficiency and safety features of the SiC inverter.  


5. Key points in SiC manufacturing

In the manufacturing of SiC inverter, there are several key points that require high attention and optimization to ensure high quality and reliability. Here are some key aspects in SiC manufacturing: ​

  • Wafer preparation: The preparation of SiC wafer is a key step, which includes selecting a high-quality SiC substrate, polishing the wafer surface to achieve a smooth and defect-free surface, and ensuring the thickness of the entire wafer consistent.
  • Epitaxial growth: Barrier growth is the process of depositing a SiC layer on a prepared wafer. This step determines the properties of the active layers of the SiC device, such as doping concentration, crystal quality and thickness. Precise control of barrier crystal growth parameters, including temperature, pressure, and gas flow rates, is critical to achieving uniform and high-quality epitaxial layers.
  • Doping and Ion Implantation: Doping is to introduce impurities into specific areas of the SiC wafer to change its electrical properties. Ion implantation is often used to precisely control doping profiles. Careful optimization of the doping process is critical to achieve the desired electrical properties and ensure uniformity across the wafer. ​
  • Lithography and etching: Lithography and etching processes are used to define device structures and patterns on SiC wafers. This includes defining active regions, contact areas, and interconnects. Achieving high-resolution lithography and precise etch control is critical to ensuring well-defined device features and minimizing defects or variations.
  • Passivation and dielectric deposition: Passivation layers and dielectric deposition are used to protect SiC inverter from environmental factors and improve their electrical performance. These layers act as insulators, preventing leakage and increasing device reliability. The deposition process must be carefully controlled to ensure uniformity, thickness and adhesion of the passivation layer.


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