Silicon Carbide (SiC) junction field effect transistors (JFETs) are ideal for switching high current, high voltage loads in high temperature environments. These devices require external drive circuits to generate pulse width modulated (PWM) signals switching from 0V to approximately 10V. Advanced CMOS microcontrollers are ideal for generating the PWM signals but are limited in output voltage due to their low breakdown voltage within the CMOS drive circuits. As a result, an intermediate buffer stage is required between the CMOS circuitry and the JFET. In this thesis, a discrete silicon-on-insulator (SOI) metal semiconductor field effect transistor (MESFET) was used to drive the gate of a SiC power JFET switching a 120V RMS AC supply into a 30Ω load. The wide operating temperature range and high breakdown voltage of up to 50V make the SOI MESFET ideal for power electronics in extreme environments. Characteristic curves for the MESFET were measured up to 250°C.; To drive the JFET, the MESFET was DC biased and then driven by a 1.2V square wave PWM signal to switch the JFET gate from 0 to 10V at frequencies up to 20kHz. For simplicity, the 1.2V PWM square wave signal was provided by a 555 timer. The JFET gate drive circuit was measured at high temperatures up to 235°C.; The circuit operated well at the high temperatures without any damage to the SOI MESFET or SiC JFET. The drive current of the JFET was limited by the duty cycle range of the 555 timer used. The SiC JFET drain current decreased with increased temperature. Due to the easy integration of MESFETs into SOI CMOS processes, MESFETs can be fabricated alongside MOSFETs without any changes in the process flow. This thesis demonstrates the feasibility of integrating a MESFET with CMOS PWM circuitry for a completely integrated SiC driver thus eliminating the need for the intermediate buffer stage.
- The use of voltage compliant silicon on insulator MESFETs for high power and high temperature pulse width modulated drive circuits