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A New Attempt to Drive Silicon Carbide MOSFETs

Microchip Technology Inc. announced on September 20 a new 1200 V production-ready digital SiC MOSFET gate driver, providing system developers with multiple levels of control and protection for safe and reliable applications in industry and transportation.

SiC MOSFETs need to be controlled the right way. Turn-off spikes, ringing and DSAT (de-saturation) can permanently damage an expensive SiC device. Microchip’s AgileSwitch drivers control, monitor and protect the application system with Augmented Switching technology and up to seven fault notifications and protections.

They can switch up to 200 kHz and provide up to seven unique fault and monitoring conditions, including temperature and high-voltage monitoring. These digital gate drivers provide a superior solution than standard analog drivers because they prevent false faults, mitigate ringing and reduce Electromagnetic Interference (EMI), overshoot and undershoot. EMI is primarily caused by sharp edges on a digital signal. Smoothing out these edges improves EMI. Augmented Switching technology provides precise settings for turn-on and turn-off that soften the edges of a gate’s output. The analog circuitry in the gate driver and the external buffer will also help eliminate sharp edges. Augmented Switching technology also reduces voltage overshoot and ringing while optimizing a system’s efficiency, which also reduces EMI.


Microchip’s AgileSwitch® 2ASC-12A2HP 1200V dual-channel digital gate driver (for half-briges) with its Augmented Switching™ technology is production qualified and fully software configurable. When compared to conventional gate drivers, key performance attributes of the gate driver products include the ability to dampen drain-source voltage (Vds) overshoots by up to 80 % and slash switching losses by as much as 50 %. The 2ASC-12A2HP digital gate driver can source/sink up to 10 A of peak current and includes an isolated DC/DC converter with low capacitance isolation barrier for pulse width modulation (PWM) signals and fault feedback.

The Intelligent Configuration Tool (ICT) allows users to configure gate driver parameters including the gate switching profiles, dead time, system critical monitors and controller interface settings. The result is a gate driver that is tailored to the applications without having to change hardware, helping to speed development time from evaluation through production and enabling designers to change control parameters during the design process and even in the field – when critical conditions such as gate oxide degradation is monitored. The ICT, which is a free-of-charge download, can save designers approximately three to six months of development time on new designs.

The 2ASC-12A2HP digital gate driver is supported by the ICT including starter settings for many commercially-available SiC switches. The gate driver also is supported by a family of module adapter boards to help designers connect to several different footprints, as well as the company’s Augmented Switching Accelerated Development Kits (ASDAK) that include gate drivers, module adapter boards, a programming kit and the ICT software for SiC MOSFET power modules.

More in our November issue. AS

www.microchip.com



 
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