First Fully Configurable Gate Driver for Silicon Carbide MOSFETs

First Fully Configurable Gate Driver for Silicon Carbide MOSFETs

Reduce Switching Losses up to 50% While Accelerating Time to Market with the First Fully Configurable Digital Gate Driver for Silicon Carbide MOSFETs – Now Production Ready

New technology enables electric buses and other e-transportation power systems to meet and exceed stringent environmental conditions while maximizing efficiency

As demand for electric buses and other electrified heavy transport vehicles increases to meet lower emission targets, silicon carbide-based power management solutions are providing greater efficiencies in these transportation systems. To complement its broad portfolio of silicon carbide MOSFET discrete and module products, Microchip Technology.

For designers of silicon carbide-based power conversion equipment, Microchip’s AgileSwitch® 2ASC-12A2HP 1200V dual-channel digital gate driver with its Augmented Switching™  technology is production qualified and fully configurable. To ensure reliable, safe operation, the 2ASC-12A2HP gate driver provides multiple levels of control and a higher level of protection for silicon carbide MOSFET-based power systems. When compared to conventional gate drivers, key performance attributes of the AgileSwitch gate driver products include the ability to dampen drain-source voltage (Vds) overshoots by up to 80% and slash switching losses by as much as 50%. The 2ASC-12A2HP digital gate driver can source/sink up to 10A of peak current and includes an isolated DC/DC converter with low capacitance isolation barrier for pulse width modulation signals and fault feedback.

Microchip’s 2ASC-12A2HP gate driver is compatible with the company’s latest release of the Intelligent Configuration Tool (ICT). This interface allows users to configure gate driver parameters including the gate switching profiles, system critical monitors and controller interface settings. The result is a gate driver that is tailored to their applications without having to change hardware, helping to speed development time from evaluation through production and enabling designers to change control parameters during the design process. The ICT, which is a free-of-charge download, can save designers approximately three to six months of development time on new designs.                                                     

“The societal trend toward electrification of all vehicles including buses, trains, trams and agriculture transportation hinges on innovative power electronic solutions to get more productivity from less energy,” said Leon Gross, vice president of Microchip’s discrete product business unit. “When combined with our silicon carbide power devices, this gate driver technology enables engineers to achieve new levels of power density in transportation systems and industrial applications.”

In addition to commercial vehicles, other applications include charging infrastructure, energy storage systems, solar inverters and aircraft flight actuators.

Microchip’s 2ASC-12A2HP gate driver is compatible with the company’s broad portfolio of silicon carbide power devices and modules and is interoperable with other manufacturers’ silicon carbide products. The company’s combination of silicon carbide power modules and digital gate drivers enables designers to influence dynamic issues including voltage overshoot, switching losses and electromagnetic interference. Microchip provides silicon carbide MOSFET avalanche and short-circuit ruggedness alongside total system solutions designed to streamline development from benchtop to production.

Microchip’s silicon carbide portfolio is complemented by its broad range of microcontrollers (MCUs) and analog solutions that provide total system solutions for high-power applications.

Development Tools

The AgileSwitch 2ASC-12A2HP digital gate driver is supported by the ICT including starter settings for many commercially-available silicon carbide switches. The gate driver also is supported by a family of module adapter boards to help designers connect to several different footprints, as well as the company’s Augmented Switching Accelerated Development Kits (ASDAK) that include gate drivers, module adapter boards, a programming kit and the ICT software for silicon carbide MOSFET modules.


The AgileSwitch 2ASC-12A2HP digital gate driver is available now for volume production. To purchase the product mentioned here, visit our purchasing portal or contact a Microchip authorized distributor. For additional information, contact a Microchip sales representative, authorized worldwide distributor, or visit Microchip’s website.


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Where are Silicon Carbide MOSFETs used?

IGBTs (Insulated-Gate Bipolar Transistors) and MOSFETs (Metal-Oxide-Semiconductor Field Effect Transistor) are used in many different types of power applications, including renewable energy, aerospace, automotive and transportation, test and measurement, and telecommunications. The most common power transistors are often interchangeable, although MOSFETs generally work well for lower voltages and power, while IGBTs are suited for higher power and voltage. With the introduction of silicon carbide, MOSFETs are more effective than ever before, offering unique benefits compared to traditional silicon components.

Silicon vs Silicon Carbide MOSFETs

MOSFETs have been around for many years and include designs that are silicon and silicon carbide-based. In general, MOSFETs are used with designs involving relatively lower voltage and power requirements. However, that is not always true when it comes to silicon carbide MOSFETs.

Silicon carbide MOSFETs have a critical breakdown strength that is 10x of silicon, and silicon carbide MOSFETs can operate at much higher temperatures, provide higher current density, experience reduced switching losses, and support higher switching frequencies. This also means that silicon carbide MOSFETs are more similar to silicon IGBTs, and in many designs, can replace silicon IGBTs while offering additional benefits to the design overall.

Silicon carbide MOSFETs outperform their silicon counterparts in other ways, including the ability to handle higher voltage and power requirements while still saving space. The use of silicon carbide makes these MOSFETs extremely rugged and durable.

Silicon IGBTs vs Silicon Carbide MOSFETs

IGBTs are used where there is a need for well-controlled, medium-speed switching, and they can be cheaper than comparable silicon MOSFETs. In addition, IGBTs can handle higher voltages than traditional MOSFETs, but that comes with high switching losses when silicon is used. Those losses generate heat, resulting in a need for costly and large thermal management solutions and a limitation on power-conversion system efficiency.

In fact, just the thermal management components required when a silicon IGBT is used will significantly increase both the size and weight of the system, which can be a serious issue for designs involving electric vehicles or aerospace applications. However, for lower switching speeds, IGBTs offer good efficiency and energy savings, which is why for many years they were preferred over comparable MOSFETs.

The excellent thermal conductivity of silicon carbide MOSFETs allows for better thermal conductivity and lower switching losses. The reduced switching losses alone (even at high voltages) mean far less heat generation, thus reducing the thermal management requirements of systems using silicon carbide MOSFETs as opposed to silicon IGBTs.

This, in turn, leads to lower overall costs as well as a far more compact, weight-saving design compared. In addition, silicon carbide MOSFETs are more rugged than silicon IGBTs, making them ideal for harsh environment applications that IGBTs would find challenging, such as onboard chargers for electric vehicles or solar power systems.


Categories: New Product Release, Power