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SHORT-CIRCUIT CAPABILITY OF IGBT (COMFETI TRANSISTORS

TERJE ROGNE NILS ARILD RINGHEIM


Norwegian Research Institute of Electricity Supply A/S
7 0 3 4 Trondheim, Norway

BJBRN ODEGARD JAN ESKEDAL TORE M. UNDELAND


Norwegian Institute of Technology
Division of Electrical Power Engineering
7 0 3 4 Trondheim, Norway

Abstract - The IGBT (Insulated Gate Bipolar Tran-


sistor) or COMFET (Conductivity Modulated Field Effect
Transistor) is a very promising component. It has the
same low drive requirements as for MOSFETs. It also
has the carrier injection as of a bipolar transistor,
giving a low voltage drop even at high breakdown
voltage ratings. There are two main problems associ-
ated with IGBT operation. First there is the risk of " ep,
latch-up of the parasitic thyristor, which in most
cases will be destructive. Secondly, the long turn-off
times limits the operating switching frequency. This
paper concentrates on the short-circuit capability.
The high-current level or active region is found for
different IGBTs. The short-circuit endurance time is
investigated. The measurements show clear differences
between the IGBTs from different manufacturers. The
gate voltage is shown to be an important parameter. Fig. 2 . Reduction of R b e of the parasitic NPN-
transistor in new MOSFET-structures. (a) Old,
I . I NTRODUCTI ON coarse MOSFET, with long P-branches. (b) New,
fine MOSFET, with short P-branches.
In many applications, short-circuit proof inverters
are wanted. In AC motor drives there usually is no If the MOSFET conducts reverse current, minority
internal output impedance. A short-circuit between the carriers are injected into the thick N--layer. As
output terminals of the inverter is therefore a direct these are swept out during off-commutation, some will
short-circuit of the inverter transistors. In this be extracted through R b e shown in fig. 2(a). With a
case short-circuit proof transistors are absolutely sufficiently high di/dt (and dV/dt) the voltage across
necessary to avoid destruction. R b e will reach the potential barrier ('0,7V) of the
A reasonably good gate-driver will be able to base-emitter junction of the NPN-transistor. Now,
detect a short-circuit in less than 5 p s . Detection minority carriers will diffuse across this junction,
times below 1-2 p s can be accomplished, but is that is, the NPN-transistor is turned on. At best,
difficult due to noise,' and is dependent on switching this may be observed as an increased reverse recovery
times, snubbers and diodes. current of the diode. At worst, the MOSFET is
In this paper we have defined 10 p s short-circuit destroyed.
endurance time as sufficiently. This allows some In fig. 2(b), it is easily seen that smaller cells
statistical deviations mainly caused by the limited give shorter P-branches and therefore reduced R b e . The
number of each transistor ( 1 - 3 ) in the test. Thus, P-well is also often wider in newer designs, in
with 5 p s detection time, the transistors that survived relation to the P-branch, giving a further reduction
the l o p s short-circuit test, should be reliable for of R b e 1 4 1 . This allows higher turn-off di/dt (and
mass production. dV/dt) of the MOSFET-s diode.

8. P-nts . . In MOSFETs And IGBTs,

4 Drain

\1I II

-*
Gate
"- n'
d Source
(a)
Fig. 1 . Parasitic
IGBTs.
elements in
A Source
(b)
(a) MOSFETs and (b)
t- n+

The thyristor, composed of the PNP and NPN Pt


transistor in fig. l(b), may latch in case of an I
overcurrent, particularly if the chip-temperature is Drain
high.
This is similar to the dV/dt-problem of the MOSFET Fig. 3 . IGBT-structure.
after reverse conduction.
88CH2565-0/88/015$01.OO 0 1988 IEEE
i n t h e IGBT ( f i g . 3 ) . there is a continuous p r e f e r r e d b e c a u s e o f low c o s t a n d v e r y s m a l l s w i t c h i n g
i n j f c t i o n of m i n o r i t y c a r r i e r s from t h e e x t r a P - l a y e r . l o s s e s . Hence, t h e s e two c o m p o n e n t s w e r e r e j e c t e d .
Some of t h e s e a r e p a s s i n g t h r o u g h t h e t h r e e l a y e r s o f One of t h e IXYS t r a n s i s t o r s , IXGH30N50, l a t c h e d
t h e P N P - p a t h . The r e s t a r e p a s s i n g through t h e N- w i t h i n t h e l i m i t of 10 L I S when V G s was e q u a l t o 15 V
chafinel i n t h e P - m a t e r i a l b e l o w t h e g a t e and o u t a n d T j = 100C, b u t m i g h t b e a n i n t e r e s t i n g component
through t h e N'-source m a t e r i a l . A s t h e g a t e - v o l t a g e i s If g a t e v o l t a g e i s reduced t o 1 2 V . Since IXGHZONSOA
reduced t o zero, t h e N-channel d i s a p p e a r s and t h e showed no weak p o i n t s , b o t h t h e s e IGBTs would b e
m i n o r i t y c a r r i e r s which a r e s t o r e d i n the N.-area further investigated.
below t h e g a t e , h a v e t o be e x t r a c t e d t h r o u g h R b P o f TA8I.F 1
t h e P - b r a n c h . With a h i g h c u r r e n t and a f a s t g a t e T E S T RESLlI,TS. CAPACITIlR A S VOI.TAGE SOLIR('E

turn-off t h e r e i s a r i s k of t u r n i n g o n t h e NPN-
' y p ~of
t r a n s i s t o r which t h e n may l a t c h t o g e t h e r w i t h t h e P N P .
The s o l u t i o n t o make l a t c h - f r e e IGB'I's i s t h e same
a s C O make r u g g e d MOSFETs, namely l o w R b r . T h i s i s why
b o t h t h e s e p r o b l e m s seem t o be s o l v e d a t t h e same
time.
I n t h i s p a p e r we show t e s t s on d i f f e r e n t I G B T s ,
where t h e h i g h - c u r r e n t , high-voltage a r e a is found.
The s h o r t - c i r c u i t e n d u r a n c e t i m e i s a l s o f o u n d .

II SHORT CIRCUIT TESl

A. Charaed CaDacitor A s Voltaae Source.

The p r e l i m i n a r y t e s t s g a v e a s u r v e y of d i f f e r e n t
I G B T s ~a b i l i t y t o w i t h s t a n d s h o r t - c i r c u i t s t r e s s u s i n g
a simple s e t u p . The t r a n s i s t o r s w i t h p r o m i s i n g
q u a l i t i e s would b e f u r t h e r i n v e s t i g a t e d , while those
w i t h p o o r s h o r t - c i r c u i t r u g g e d n e s s w e r e e x c l u d e d . The
s i m p l i f i e d t e s t c i r c u i t i s shown in f i g . 4 .

l~~~~~ ( A ] 115 715

o v L l u r ~ n gt h e t e T t , )unction t e m p e r a t u r e T J = 2 5 * ?
Fig. 4. T e s t c i r c u i t . Charged c a p a c i t o r a s v o l t a g e be f o I e t ti e s hor t - c I I c I 1 t c oiid i t i oil oc c II r s
source during short-circuiting. !I tlme 111 s h o r t - c i r c u i t bpforp latrhing
TlmeS includiiig " ) " denote 110 latchlllq
1 ) C i r c u i t Descr i o t i o n : A v a r i a b l e d c v o l t a g e V B so f a r

c h a r g e s t h e c a p a c i t o r C t h r o u g h s w i t c h S . The IGBT h a s I D l l r n i peak drain c u r r ~ n t


an o v e r v o l t a g e p r o t e c t i o n ( D p , C, and R P ) , and t h e ]unction t e i n p e r a t i l r e T , ~ 1011"? beforp
gate driver circuit ( n o t d r a w n ) i s a b l e t o impose short ~cirrriit.
s i n g l e v o l t a g e p u l s e s of v a r i a b l e d u r a t i o n t o t h e g a t e
terminal. b ~ rated c u r r e n t a t T C = 9UnCC. 111 parenthesic
After t h e c a p a c i t o r voltage Vc has reached t h e a t 25OC
s u p p l y v o l t a g e V B , s w i t c h S i s o p e n e d a n d t h e IGBT i s
turned o n . T h i s s h o r t - c i r c u i t s t h e 1 0 pF c a p a c i t o r
through t h e t r a n s i s t o r and V c d i s c h a r g e s r a p i d l y .
However, t h e t r a n s i s t o r v o l t a g e V D s c a n b e r e g a r d e d a s
c o n s t a n t d u r i n g o n - s t a t e t i m e s u p t o 5ps. Due t o
capacitor voltage drop, g a t e s i g n a l s of longer
duration g i v e an inaccurate expression of the
t r a n s i s t o r - s s h o r t - c u r c u i t ruggedness.

2 ) T e s t Results; The r e s u l t s f r o m t h e t e s t i s shown


i n t a b l e 1 . Each t r a n s i s t o r h a s a j u n c t i o n t e m p e r a t u r e
o f T j = 25OC b e f o r e s h o r t - c i r c u i t , b u t IXGH30N50 i s
a l s o i n s p e c t e d w i t h T J = 100C.
o v
Fig. 5. T e s t c i r c u i t . Low i m p e d a n c e v o l t a g e s o u r c e
A MOSFET t r a n s i s t o r , BUZ45, was e x a m i n e d f i r s t t o
during short-circuiting.
make c o m p a r i s o n s p o s s i b l e b e t w e e n IGBTs a n d a w e l l -
known, r u g g e d c o m p o n e n t . A s e x p e c t e d , BUZ45 was n o t T o s h i b a g i v e s d a t a on s h o r t - c i r c u i t c a p a b i l i t y o f
destroyed. t h e i r IGBT m o d u l e s [ 1 , 2 ] , a n d IXYS IGBTs a r e c l a i m e d
The RCMlON40 IGBT l a t c h e d i n s t a n t a n e o u s l y a t o n l y t o be l a t c h - f r e e i n 1 3 1 . C o n s e q u e n t l y , samples of
40 V s u p p l y v o l t a g e a n d d i d n o t f u l f i l o u r c l a i m s f o r IGBTs f r o m t h e s e m a n u f a c t u r e r s h a v e b e e n t e s t e d i n t h e
s h o r t - c i r c u i t e n d u r a n c e . N e i t h e r d i d t h e MGM20N45 o f c i r c u i t of fig. 5. This c i r c u i t implies t h a t t h e
M o t o r o l a . Both t r a n s i s t o r s from G e n e r a l E l e c t r i c , transistors are directly short-circuiting a low
IGT4D11 a n d IGT4E10, worked s u f f i c i e n t l y w i t h V G s u p i m p e d a n c e v o l t a g e s o u r c e . The main d i f f e r e n c e b e t w e e n
t o 1 2 V , b u t l a t c h e d a t a g a t e v o l t a g e of 15 V. t h i s c i r c u i t a n d t h e c i r c u i t o f f i g . 4 i s t h e v a l u e Of
Consequently the devices ought t o be f u r t h e r the capacitor.
i n v e s t i g a t e d . However, I G B T s f r o m G E h a v e s m a l l power A n o t h e r f e a t u r e of t h e s e t e s t s i s t h a t t h e j u n c t i o n
ratings. At these r a t i n g s MOSFETs a r e u s u a l l y t e m p e r a t u r e is h e l d a t T j = 125OC.

616
Table 2 shows the short-circuit capability of the TABLE 2
various transistors used in the test. It can be seen T E S T RESULTS. LOW IMPEDANCE VOLTAGE S O U R C E .
that the short-circuit capability is dependent on the
applied gate voltage, which controls the current level
in the active region. This dependence is further
visualized in fig. 6, where the high current, high
voltage area as a function of gate voltage is plotted
for Toshiba-s MGlOONZYSl. This 100 A module has a high
current level of 900 A at V G s = 15 V. During the tests
we obtained similar plots of all the tested tran-
sistors.
In the next chapter (IIIB), the consequences of
reducing the gate voltage, is discussed. Some IGBTs
are short-circuit proof only at reduced gate voltages.
These are fully acceptable components provided that
they satisfy the requirements of chapter IIIB. It will
also appear that the effects of such a reduction often
are' so small that a transistor which is short-circuit
proof at V G s = 15 V, may be driven at lower voltages. [XGH25NBOA Iopeak[A] 7 8 100 209
This will always increase the short-circuit
capab il i ty . [XYS tl [ P S I >10 >10 >In 20d
400 500 1 5 0 1
CXGH20NSOA IDpeakIA] 25 48 97

IXYS tl I P S 1 10 30d
V,,=l5V 400 500 ( 5 0 )
IXGH30N50 1 ~ ~ ~ ~ l ; I A 1l2 5

V,,=l2V

V=
,l ov

Considering the previously defined criteria for


short-circuit capability, the tests show that
T o s h i b a ~ s IGBT-components have such a capability for
gate voltages up to 15 V. This confirms the given data
in [l] and [ 2 ] . Fig. 8 shows that MGlOON2YSl can be
Fig. 6. High current, high voltage area of Toshiba's turned off successfully after 10 p s with a gate
MGlOONZYSl . voltage of 15 V , while a 12 ).IS pulse causes latch-up
before a turn-off attempt is made.
Another overview of the test results is given in
In figs. 8 and 9, the reader may also observ the
fig. 7. This figure emphasize on latching points and
moderate overvoltage during turn-off from the active
final survival tests.
region. Due to the small amount of excess minority
carriers stored in the bipolar transistor, this turn-
4 time (us) 4 time (us) off is MOS-controlled. At a normal load turn-off, the
12 bipolar transistor is saturated with a high
concentration of excess minority carriers. Hence, the
18 2 E l ; di/dt is not constant, and the overvoltage appears as
a higher spike relative to the current level to be
turned off. The turn-off from short-circuit is thus a
rather pleasant overload feature of a latch-free IGBT.
4 10
In addition to T o s h i b a ~ s components, IXYS-
IXGH2ON5OA (20A/500V) shows short-circuit capability
0 for gate voltages up to 15 V.
0 200 400 600 The three remaining IXYS' IGBTs, however, can not
"DS M "DS M be protected unless the gate voltage is reduced.
IXGH30N50 can be protected at V G s = 10 V, while
- IXGH25N80A - IXGH25N100A IXGH25N80A and IXGH25N100A have short-circuit capabi-
. . . . . IXGH20N50A .. ...... IXGH30N50 llty of V G S = 8 v.
MG100N2YSl _____ MG25N2YS1 Hence it is of great importance to Investigate what

I - latch-up
impact a reduced gate voltage has on the forward
test voltage drop.

-no latch-up no further testing


previous survived

1-previous survived test


-
test

The applied gate voltage appears beside each sign

Fig. 7. Short-circuit endurance time.


617
Y ! I I I I k . 1 vDS:
1 125Vldiv

__-

a
Fig. 8. Non-latching ( a ) and latching ( b ) conditlon of an MGlOON2YSl

a b
Fig. 9. Non-latching ( a ) and latching ( b ) condition of an IXGH25N100A.

I1I. EFFECTS OF REDUCING GATE VOLTAGE

A. Forward V o l t a a e Droe

Drain current I o and the associated on-state


voltage drop V D s has been measured for the IXYS
transistors IXGH30N50, IXGH25N80A and IXGH25N100A. The
three IGBTs were examined f o r drain currents u p to
twice their rated continuous values, which should
cover most applications. The results are plotted in
fig. 10. b

Fig. 1 0 . Forward voltage drop plotted against drain


current. ( a ) IXGH30N50 ( b ) IXGH25N80A
( C ) IXGH25NlOOA.

a
C

I 1 I I ) Oo/
2 4 6 8
'DS v) 'DS M
618
I n t h e previous chapter, s h o r t - c i r c u i t endurance IXGH30N50 VGS = 1ov
was shown t o b e e n h a n c e d by r e d u c i n g t h e g a t e v o l t a g e . IXGH25N100A VGs = 8V
The i n f l u e n c e s on f o r w a r d v o l t a g e d r o p c a u s e d by V G s IXGH25N80A none
i s shown i n f i g . 1 0 . A s c a n b e s e e n , a t low g a t e
v o l t a g e s t h e IGBT m i g h t e n t e r t h e a c t i v e a r e a a t I D With a f a s t e r s h o r t - c i r c u i t d e t e c t i o n , I X G H Z S N l ( ! O A
b e l o w two times r a t e d I o . I n m o s t a p p l i c a t i o n s t h i s may b e d r i v e n a t V G s = 10V. The IXGH25N80A i s
must be a v o i d e d . balancing b e t w e e n r e c o m m e n d a t i o n a n d r e j e c t i o n by t h e
a u t h o r s . However, d u e t o a p o s s i b l e s p r e a d b e t w e e n
E. Forward Voltaqe DroD Ve r s u s S h o r t - c i r c u i t CaDa- different s a m p l e s of t h e same IGBT r e g a r d i n g t h e h l g h
bilitv current level a t a specific voltage, t h i s d e v i c e 1s
n o t recommended w i t h o u t f u r t h e r i n v e s t i g a t i o n s .
At a swithcing frequency of 20kHz t h e s w i t c h i n g When e v a l u a t i n g t h e s e r e s u l t s , t h e - l i m i t e d number
l o s s e s o f t h e c u r r e n t f a s t e s t IGBTs a r e approximately o f e a c h IGBT i n v e s t i g a t e d must b e t a k e n i n t o a c c o u n t .
twice the conduction l o s s e s . Hence, a moderate The v a r i a t i o n i n h i g h c u r r e n t l e v e l b e t w e e n two
i n c r e a s e i n f o r w a r d v o l t a g e d r o p may b e a c c e p t e d . t r a n s i s t o r s o f t h e same t y p e , may b e c r i t i c a l i n some
When s h o r t - c i r c u i t p r o o f t r a n s i s t o r s a r e demanded, occasions, and t h i s t e s t c o m p r i s e t o o few samples f o r
t h e maximum a l l o w e d g a t e v o l t a g e s a r e f o u n d i n t a b l e a f i n a l c o n c l u t i o n on t h e s e f e a t u r e s . A more c o m p l e t e
2. Some a p p l i c a t i o n s r e q u i r e p e a k d r a i n c u r r e n t s o f test i s v e r y e x p e n s i v e t o c a r r y o u t . Hence u s e r s a r e
twice t h e rated continous currents. If t h e IXYS l i k e l y t o u s e t h e IGBTs o f m a n u f a c t u r e r s who p u b l i s h
t r a n s i s t o r s must be s h o r t - c i r c u i t proof without t h e information about t h e s h o r t - c i r c u i t c a p a b i l i t i e s
entering t h e a c t i v e region a t t h i s current l e v e l , the of t h e i r d e v i c e s .
a l l o w e d g a t e v o l t a g e s a r e (comparing t a b l e 2 and f i g .
IO):
____-_______________---------------

IV. CONCLUSIONS

I n t h i s paper, i t i s shown t h a t l a t c h - f r e e IGBTs Regarding c a t h e g o r y i i ) - components, a t r a d e - o f f


e x i s t . T h a t i s , t h e y a r e a v a i l a b l e f r o m a f e w manu- h a s t o b e made b e t w e e n s h o r t - c i r c u i t c a p a b i l i t y and
f a c t u r e r s . The d i f f e r e n c e i n s h o r t - c i r c u i t c a p a b i l i t y , forward voltage drop. A s e x p l a i n e d i n c h a p t e r 111,
v a r i e s f r o m e x c e l l e n t t o none a t a l l . T h i s i s s t r o n g l y reducing t h e g a t e voltage increases the on-state
d e p e n d e n t on t h e l a t c h i n g p e r f o r m a n c e o f t h e IGBTs. l o s s e s a n d a t w o r s t t h e IGBT may e n t e r t h e a c t i v e
The n e e d f o r a n i n v e s t i g a t i o n l i k e t h i s s h o u l d n o t r e g i o n d u r i n g t h e o n - s t a t e t i m e . The s o l u t i o n t o the
e x i s t . However, s i n c e m o s t m a n u f a c t u r e r s ( e x c e p t of trade-off mentioned, i s s t r o n g l y d e p e n d e n t on t h e
T o s h i b a ) a v o i d g i v i n g d a t a on t h e s h o r t - c i r c u i t c a p a - s p e c i f i c a p p l i c a t i o n ; t h e p e a k d r a i n c u r r e n t i s a key
b i l i t y of t h e i r IGBTs, application engineers a r e parameter i n determining t h e g a t e voltage l e v e l .
forced t o investigate these f e a t u r e s themselves. A r a t h e r p l e a s a n t f e a t u r e of t h e s h o r t - c i r c u i t be-
The p r e s e n t e x i s t i n g IGBTs may b e d i v i d e d i n t o h a v i o u r of IGBTs, i s t h e r e l a t i v e l y moderate over-
three cathegories: v o l t a g e which i s induced in the transistor during
t u r n - o f f from t h e a c t i v e r e g i o n .
i) No p r a c t i c a l s h o r t - c i r c u i t c a p a b i l i t y . A c o n s t r a i n t on t h e t e s t r e s u l t s i s t h e r e l a t i v e
ii) Short-circuits c a p a b i l i t y only a t reduced f e w s a m p l e s o f e a c h IG6T t e s t e d . However, the varia-
gate voltages, and/or with very f a s t s h o r t - tion i n component v a l u e s i s accounted f o r i n t h e
circuit detection circuits. d e t e r m i n a t i o n of o u r demands t o t h e s h o r t - c i r c u i t
iii) Short-circuit capabilities a t gate voltages endurance time.
up t o 15 v .

REFERENCES
[ l ] "Application notes. IGBT. B i p o l a r - m o d e MOSFET". [3] F . Goodenough: " L a t c h - f r e e MOS IGT g a t e s 800 V a t
Toshiba D i s c r e t e Semiconductor Engineering Dept., 50 A " . E l e c t r o n i c D e s i a n . v o l . 34, no. 1 6 , pp.
1986. 45-48, J u l y 1986.

[2] "Application notes. GTR M o d u l e s . B i p o l a r GMOS [ 4 ] T . T s u n o d a : " H i g h - P o w e r , H i g h - s p e e d T o s h i b a IGBT


IGBT". T o s h i b a D i s c r e t e S e m i c o n d u c t o r E n g i n e e r i n g Module". T o s h i b a D i s c r e t e Semiconductor Device
D e p t . , May 1 9 8 8 . Engineering Dept., Oct. 1987.

619