Power Semiconductor Devices are crucial components in present day power electronic systems. The performance and efficiency of the devices have a direct correlation with the power system efficiency. This dissertation will examine some of the components that are commonly used in a power system, with emphasis on their performance characteristics and reliability. In recent times, there has a proliferation of charge balance devices in high voltage discrete power devices. We examine the same charge balance concept in a fast recovery diode and a MOSFET. This is crucial in the extending system performance at compact dimensions. At smaller device and system sizes, the performance trade-off between the ON and OFF states becomes all the more critical. The focus on reducing the switching losses while maintaining system reliability increases. In a conventional planar technology, the technology places a limit on the switching performance owing to the larger die sizes. Using a charge balance structure helps achieve the improved trade-off, while working towards ultimately improving system reliability, size and cost. Chapter 1 introduces the basic power system based on an inductive switching circuit, and the various components that determine its efficiency. Chapter 2 presents a novel Trench Fast Recovery Diode (FRD) structure with injection control is proposed in this dissertation. The proposed structure achieves improved carrier profile without the need for excess lifetime control. This substantially improves the device performance, especially at extreme temperatures (-40oC to 175oC). The device maintains low leakage at high temperatures, and it's Qrr and Irm do not degrade as is the usual case in heavily electron radiated devices. A 1600 diode using this structure has been developed, with a low forward turn-on voltage and good reverse recovery properties. The experimental results show that the structure maintains its performance at high temperatures. In chapter 3, we develop a termination scheme for the previously mentioned diode. A major limitation on the performance of high voltage power semiconductor is the edge termination of the device. It is critical to maintain the breakdown voltage of the device without compromising the reliability of the device by controlling the surface electric field. A good termination structure is critical to the reliability of the power semiconductor device. The proposed termination uses a novel trench MOS with buried guard ring structure to completely eliminate high surface electric field in the silicon region of the termination. The termination scheme was applied towards a 1350 V fast recovery diode, and showed excellent results. It achieved 98% of parallel plane breakdown voltage, with low leakage and no shifts after High Temperature Reverse Bias testing due to mobile ion contamination from packaging mold compound. In chapter 4, we also investigate the device physics behind a superjunction MOSFET structure for improved robustness. The biggest issue with a completely charge balanced MOSFET is decreased robustness in an Unclamped Inductive Switching (UIS) Circuit. The equally charged P and N pillars result in a flat electric field profile, with the peak carrier density closer to the P-N junction at the surface. This results in an almost negligible positive dynamic Rds-on effect in the MOSFET. By changing the charge profile of the P-column, either by increasing it completely or by implementing a graded profile with the heavier P on top, we can change the field profile and shift the carrier density deeper into silicon, increasing the positive dynamic Rds-on effect. Simulation and experimental results are presented to support the theory and understanding. Chapter 5 summarizes all the theories presented and the contributions made by them in the field. It also seeks to highlight future work to be done in these areas.
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
College of Engineering and Computer Science
Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)
Padmanabhan, Karthik, "Study of Novel Power Semiconductor Devices for Performance and Reliability." (2016). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 4904.