Silicon carbide optoelectronic switches

Lawrence E. Kingsley, Terrence Burke, Maurice Weiner, Robert J. Youmans, Hardev Singh, Walter Buchwald, Joseph Flemish, J. H. Zhao, K. Xie

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


We will discuss here our efforts to fabricate and test new SiC opto-electronic high voltage switches. We report the ultrafast switching of novel silicon carbide devices using an optical trigger. The switching properties of both commercial SiC pn diodes and in-house fabricated SiC thyristors were investigated. Subnanosecond risetime was observed with both devices. A comparison of SiC pn diode and thyristor switching shows that the thyristor has the highest switching speed and efficiency, and triggers with the least optical energy. We report the first optical triggering of a silicon carbide thyristor into the latched-on state. This switching is characteristic of electrically triggered thyristors, however the optical triggering produced a significantly faster risetime, 370 picosecond, than is possible with electronic triggering. The thyristor switched 100 volts bias with 96% efficiency, corresponding to a device on-state of 4 volts at an average current density of 750 A/cm2. The singular advantages of optical triggering, isolation from the trigger source, synchronized triggering of stacked devices, and switching speed, are highly desirable for high voltage, high power operation of conventional power devices. These results provide enabling technology for high-repetition rate, high-voltage impulse generators and expedite the development of high-power electrically triggered silicon carbide devices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
EditorsWilliam R. Donaldson
PublisherSociety of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers
Number of pages7
ISBN (Print)0819416762
StatePublished - 1995
Externally publishedYes
EventOptically Activated Switching IV - Boston, MA, USA
Duration: Oct 31 1994Nov 1 1994

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X


OtherOptically Activated Switching IV
CityBoston, MA, USA

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Silicon carbide optoelectronic switches'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this