Characterization of 3.3-kV Reverse-Blocking SiC Modules for Use in Current-Source Zero-Voltage-Switching Converters

Silicon carbide (SiC) MOSFETs with ratings of 3.3 to 15 kV represent a dramatic improvement over available silicon devices, enabling the realization of medium-voltage converters in demanding applications such as solid-state transformers. Typical voltage-source converter configurations realize significant reduction in switching loss with SiC devices, but high dv/dt of 30-50 kV/μs generates high levels of electromagnetic interference (EMI) and displacement currents. Current-source based zero-voltage switching (CS-ZVS) converters such as the soft-switching solid-state transformer (S4T), dramatically reduce switching loss using ZVS, thus realizing both controlled dv/dt and low EMI. CS-ZVS converters require reverse blocking (RB) modules that are realized using series connection of a diode and a MOSFET. However, no data are available from manufacturers or from literature on RB module characterization under ZVS conditions. This article presents detailed characterization results and model extraction for a 3.3 kV 45 A and a 1.7 kV 10 A SiC RB module, under both hard switching and ZVS modes. A novel double-pulse testbed is designed and built for this characterization of RB devices under both hard switching and ZVS conditions. Significantly, it is shown that when the RB modules are used in CS-ZVS converters, the dynamic voltage sharing between the RB modules in a phase leg and within the RB module (between the diode and the switch) results in a unique voltage stress. Modulation strategies to address this unique voltage stress are proposed and verified through experiment results, using a S4T prototype rated at 1.5 kV, 10 kVA.

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