Silicon Carbide (SiC)

Setting a new standard in power savings

Just as Silicon (Si) became the semiconductor standard 30 years ago SiC is now revolutionizing the electric power industry. It can work at temperatures unreachable by Si chips, and can operate at much higher frequencies because these devices are much more efficient. SiC-based devices can also manage the same level of power as Si devices but at half the size and weight.

Fuel Savings

the fuel savings achieved by reducing an aircraft’s weight by 1,000 lbs.

Electric Vehicle Ranges

increasing more electric vehicle ranges by 10%.

Vehicle Cooling Systems

eliminating complex and heavy cooling systems on vehicles.

Improved Power Levels

designing systems at power levels not yet attainable with current technology.

GE SiC advantages

Highest temperature tolerance
200°C rated die, reduced cooling system complexity, cost and size

Fewer switches
Reduced losses, improved size, weight and power capabilities

Higher current density
2x Power density at same size and weight

Higher energy band gap
More robust against heat, radiation and electromagnetic disturbances.

Power overlay technology
Ultra-thin profile that enables 40% space savings
2x cooling compared to wire-bonded modules

SiC technology leader

GE has been a leader in SiC technology development for nearly two decades. From chip design and component engineering to full system implementation, GE has demonstrated class-leading performance in power devices, advanced packaging and power electronics applications. GE offered the Industry’s first -55 to 200˚C MOSFET.

GE SiC … 20+ years of experience

  • First SiC photodiode studies for UV, combustion.

  • World's first SiC op amp with high temperature operation.

  • SiC Flame Tracker (UV combustion monitor) enters production. First SiC product.

  • Fully capable 4" SiC fabrication in place, demonstrated MOSFET VTH stable @ 200°C.

  • Gen 1 MOSFET: AEC-Q101 qualified 1.2kV SiC MOSFET with industry-leading performance.

  • ISO9001: 4" fabrication.

  • 6" device fabrication and packaging.

  • Gen 3 MOSFET: AEC-Q101 qualified 1.2kV SiC MOSFET, 200°C rated. 1.2kV, 25mΩ.

  • SiC enabled US Army demonstrator for next generation combat vehicles.

  • Aviation industry-first SiC converter with GE SiC.

Device

3x higher reliability

<25% switching losses

4x switching frequency

2x power density

AEC-Q101 qualified

Module

Power and current density

Resistance and inductance

Robustness

LRU

Weight

Power density

Power quality

System

1-5% system efficiency

2x power density

2x reliability

Sustainability on MEA narrow-body

500-1,000 lbs weight

1-3% Fuel Burn

Aviation SiC experience

GE has been making significant progress in hybrid-electric flight, high power vehicle systems, and electric propulsion systems because of our SiC and system-level expertise. Systems with power capabilities that used to be impossible are now possible, and they also happen to be smaller, lighter, more efficient, and cooler than their Silicon predecessors. SiC MOSFETs and power packaging experience are key components to GE’s success in making these achievements possible for the world.

GE is looking at a future of aviation and hybrid-electric aircraft that might seem far off for some, but not for GE. Our Global Research Center (GRC) in conjunction with GE’s Aviation business is currently developing a SiC-based, lightweight inverter for MW-class power conversion working to NASA-set goals for power density and efficiency under two programs.

This novel inverter will advance the state-of-the-art by leveraging GE’s ultra-high efficiency and high voltage SiC power devices to achieve an industry best power conversion peak efficiency (goal of 99%) and power density (goal of 19kW/kg for the active components).

This SiC-based MW inverter will be ground-tested and represents the first step towards a lightweight flight-worthy inverter to enable hybrid-electric aircraft applications. This technology could revolutionize how we travel in the future.

Military SiC applications

tank in desert

GE’s advancements in SiC and high-power system designs have caught the attention of the US Army. GE has been working with the U.S. Army's CCDC Ground Vehicle Systems Center (GVSC), formally known as TARDEC, to develop high voltage architectures for ground combat vehicles high-power demands that can meet future requirements in the world’s most challenging environments. Our systems have been extensively tested in the lab and field tested to show that they will meet the challenge. All of this has been possible due to GE’s SiC and design capabilities and through the partnership and funding from GVSC.

Read additional information about GE’s partnership with GVSC.

integrated starter generator controller (ISGC).jpg

GE’s Silicon Carbide (SiC) high efficiency Integrated Starter/Generator Controller (ISGC) is specifically designed for the Next-Generation Combat Vehicle (NHCV). The design utilizes the latest generation of GE’s SiC MOSFETs providing unmatched power levels and durability for the harshest environments.

Off-highway industrial vehicle applications

With vehicles moving towards reduced emissions and reduced cost of ownership, heavy industrial vehicles used in construction, mining, and agriculture applications must evolve. Silicon Carbide (SiC) is an enabler that will allow vehicles to achieve unmatched efficiencies with electrification.

GE’s SiC power modules can operate in the harsh environments common for industrial vehicles with unprecedented reliability. With SiC devices certified to automotive AEC-Q101 standards, GE SiC modules can yield:

  • 2x reduction in size and weight compared to IGBT systems, simplifying integration, in a package 40% smaller than competing modules
  • Increased fuel efficiency, reducing emissions
  • Less maintenance & reduced downtime due to simplified systems, reducing cost of ownership

Just as in our military ground vehicle applications, GE’s proprietary technology allows for scalability and customization to meet the intense needs of industrial vehicles.

Six-Pack (SiC Module)

1.2kV/1.7kV Six 6-Pack (SiC Module)

Silicon Carbide
power modules

  Module type Voltage rating (V) Current/ switch (A) Max junction temp Size LxWxH (mm)
center tap rectifier Center tap rectifier 650 750 150°C 102.9mm
68.6mm
15.5mm
dual Dual 1,200 475 175°C 89mm
51mm
25mm
1,700 425
1/2 bridge 1/2 bridge 1,200 400 175°C 89mm
51mm
25mm
1,200 475
1,700 425
1/2 bridge 1/2 bridge 1,200 120 175°C 85mm
63mm
25mm
1/2 bridge 1/2 bridge 1,200 1,200 175°C 133.6mm
90.4mm
29.5mm
1,200 1,600
1,700 1,400
6 switch SSPC 6 switch SSPC 1,200 6 x 500 175°C 133.6mm
90.4mm
37mm
1,700 6 x 450
6 pack 6 pack 1,200 3 x 500 175°C 133.6mm
90.4mm
29.5mm
1,700 3 x 450
Product brochures

The future

The world is moving towards electrification, hybrid systems, and renewable energy. The next 20+ years will bring about the revolution in electrical power systems that can propel an aircraft and allow electric vehicles to charge rapidly with a greater range than fossil fuels. Renewable energy will be maximized through highly efficient power electronic devices.

The future of power electronics is boundless, and GE is poised to lead the industry through the SiC transformation.