Unabated, worldwide trends in CO2 production project growth to > 43-BMT per year over the next two decades. Efficient power electronics are crucial to fully realizing the CO2 mitigating benefits of a worldwide smart grid (~ 18% reduction for the United States alone). Even state-of-the-art SiC high voltage junction devices are inefficient because of slow transition times (~ 0.5-μs) and limited switching rates at high voltage (~ 20-kHz at ≥ 15-kV) resulting from the intrinsically limited charge carrier drift speed (< 2 × 107-cm-s−1). Slow transition times and limited switch rates waste energy through transition loss and hysteresis loss in external magnetic components. Bulk conduction devices, where carriers are generated and controlled nearly simultaneously throughout the device volume, minimize this loss. Such devices are possible using below bandgap excitation of semi-insulating (SI) SiC single crystals. We explored carrier dynamics with a 75-fs single wavelength pump/supercontinuum probe and a modified transient spectroscopy technique and also demonstrated a new class of efficient, high-speed, high-gain, bi-directional, optically-controlled transistor-like power device. At a performance level six times that of existing devices, for the first time we demonstrated prototype operation at multi-10s of kW and 20-kV, 125-kHz in a bulk conduction transistor-like device using direct photon-carrier excitation with below bandgap light.
ASJC Scopus subject areas