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Design and Exploitation of a Test-Bench for Non-Destructive Characterization of the Susceptibility of Silicon Carbide (SiC) Power Devices to Cosmic Radiation

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Failure mechanisms in power electronic devices that are caused by single event and dose-related effects due to ionizing radiation are investigated since at least three decades. In single effect events, high-energy cosmic radiation impinging on devices undergo different types of electromagnetic and/or nuclear interactions. This results in the deposition of energy (charge) along the ionization track that may be sufficient to produce a catastrophic failure of the device.

Usually, experiments to evaluate the susceptibility of power devices to the cosmic radiation are carried out under highly-accelerated conditions, i.e. by irradiating such devices with light or heavy ions in particle accelerators. However, these experiments require special facilities, are expensive, destructive, and their results cannot be easily converted to the normal use conditions.

Even if SiC devices appear to be less sensitive to cosmic radiation than their silicon counterpart, a continuous monitoring is needed to identify and address reliability issues at all levels of, design, manufacturing, and qualification.

In this work, we propose to design, implement and exploit a non-destructive experimental setup that makes use of ionizing radiation to characterize the susceptibility of SiC power devices to to cosmic rays-induced reliability issues.

Short Description

A test setup has to be designed and implemented, where SiC devices are biased in the blocking state and continuously monitored for the occurrence of ionization events due to cosmic radiation. The monitoring system has to acquire the frequency of the ionizing events and the amount of the charge collected by the devices in the blocking state.


• Get acquainted with the SiC power devices under test
• Survey of the literature on Single Event Burnout phenomena
• Design the (safe) high-voltage power supply for the devices under test
• Design the monitoring system
• Implement both power supply and monitoring system
• Design the software for the statistical evaluation of the acquired events
• Apply the developed experimental setup to the case of SiC MOSFETs


• None

Status: Available

• Looking for interested students.
• Contact: Dr. Mauro Ciappa Marco Pocaterra
• -> ETHZ IIS H.78


Dr. Mauro Ciappa
Marco Pocaterra


Mathieu Luisier

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