Radiation effects have a critical impact on the reliability of SiC and GaN power electronics and must be understood for space and avionics applications involving exposure to various types of ionizing and non-ionizing radiation. While these semiconductors have shown excellent radiation hardness to total ionizing dose and displacement damage effects, SiC and GaN power devices are susceptible to degradation from single event effects (SEE) resulting from the high-energy, heavy-ion space radiation environment (galactic cosmic rays) that cannot be shielded. This degradation occurs at <50% of the rated operating voltage, requiring operation of SiC MOSFETs and rectifiers at de-rated voltages. SEE caused by terrestrial cosmic radiation (neutrons) have also been identified by industry as a limiting factor for the use of SiC-based electronics in aircraft. In this paper we review prospects and opportunities for a comprehensive and systematic assessment of these materials to understand the origin and possible mitigation of these effects.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials