Electrical Properties of Silicon Carbide

Silicon carbide (SiC) is an extremely resilient material capable of withstanding high temperatures and electrical stresses while also having superior anti-abrasion qualities.

Pure SiC is an electrical insulator; however, with carefully applied impurities it can transform into a semiconductor material. Doping it with aluminum and boron leads to p-type semiconductors while doping it with nitrogen and phosphorus produces n-type semiconductors.


Silicon carbide’s wide bandgap value makes it more suited to handling higher temperatures and voltages than other semiconductors, which makes it suitable for high-performance power electronics applications such as diodes, transistors, and thyristors.

The bandgap value is the energy gap between a material’s conduction and valence bands that determines whether electrons can pass through it. It is determined by atom size and location within it – smaller atoms have larger bandgap values. Alloying can alter it further; III-V nitrides exhibit particularly large values.

Wide bandgaps allow electrons to pass more easily through materials, carrying with them greater amounts of energy that results in greater electrical current and better light absorption. Furthermore, wider bandgaps absorb light more effectively.

Energy levels within a material determine whether it acts as a conductor, insulator or semiconductor. Fermi energy, the highest level occupied by solids at low temperatures, determines where both valence and conduction bands fall; when within either of them all electrons available for bonding will participate; otherwise insulators cannot conduct as freely due to no electrons present to conduct conduction pathways.

Fermi energy lies within the conduction band; when there are electrons present to participate in conduction. This is typically observed in semiconductors.

Doping allows for manipulation of sintered porous SiC’s electrical conductivity by adding impurities into its crystal structure to produce more free electrons or holes, effectively changing its electrical conductivity. This process is commonly employed in the fabrication of electronic devices such as diodes, transistors, thyristors and photovoltaic cells. By filling lower energy levels with boron atoms, adding boron can increase electrical conductivity of sintered porous SiC ceramic. As a result, this technology reduces resistance while narrowing depletion regions within crystalline lattices, thus narrowing resistance zones and narrowing depletion regions for greater efficiency in devices operating at higher temperatures and voltages than their silicon-based counterparts.

Thermal Conductivity

Silicon carbide boasts high thermal conductivity and a low coefficient of thermal expansion, making it an excellent material choice for applications that require heat management. Furthermore, its specific heat capacity – the amount of energy per unit mass it can absorb – makes this material highly useful. Furthermore, its efficient heat transfer properties reduce risk from thermal stress or microcrack formation while its low coefficient of thermal expansion ensures minimal stress or microcrack formation risks.

Thermal conductivity of materials depends on their atom or molecular packing density, with metals experiencing decreasing packing densities as temperature rises due to increased vibrational movement of their atoms and molecules, thus decreasing mean free paths through crystal lattices. Nonmetals however present more complicated relationships; increasing packing density may increase thermal conductivity but it’s important not to overlook other factors which might alter it such as electron phonon scattering.

Chemical composition and processing conditions of porous silicon carbide can drastically impact its electrical properties, such as conductivity. To maintain uniformity and maximize the positive impacts on electro-thermal properties of porous silicon carbide materials, dopants used should be distributed uniformly across each batch of material containing dopants used for doping purposes. It is also essential that their concentration levels are correct; bulk and spatially resolved analytic methods may help with this goal.

Silicon Carbide’s wide bandgap and excellent thermal conductivity make it an ideal semiconductor material for many different applications. It is often utilized in power electronic devices, including diodes, transistors and thyristors where its superior resistance to higher voltages and temperatures makes it the go-to material. Furthermore, its high specific heat capacity enables it to absorb and dissipate large amounts of energy quickly and effectively.

EAG Laboratories has vast experience testing and analyzing the electronic properties of silicon carbide. Our advanced analytic techniques can assist in understanding how various dopants affect silicon carbide’s electronic and thermal properties. Furthermore, we can ensure your silicon carbide contains adequate levels of n-type dopants such as nitrogen and phosphorous or p-type dopants such as beryllium, boron or aluminum dopants – and that undesirable contaminants do not exist within its composition.


Resistivity measures the degree to which conductor materials block electric current. It measures how strongly they oppose electron movement and has SI units of ohms (). Resistivity for metals ranges between 0 and 100 ohms; higher numbers indicate greater resistance against electron flow; longer lengths tend to have lower resistance values than shorter ones.

Silicon carbide’s electrical resistivity value lies between gold and glass. Although in its pure state, silicon carbide acts as an insulator, it can be made semi-conducting by doping with aluminum, boron, gallium and nitrogen impurities; adding these impurities allows formation of P-type and N-type semiconductors with semiconductivity properties and switchability depending on temperature or voltage.

Silicon carbide’s low resistivity value makes it ideal for power electronics applications that require wide temperature ranges. Furthermore, silicon carbide’s mechanical stress-tolerance allows it to thrive even under harsh environments where more traditional materials would falter.

Silicon carbide’s broad temperature range makes it suitable for power conversion devices like converters, rectifiers and DC/DC controllers. Furthermore, its larger bandgap enables it to transfer electrical energy more effectively than semiconductors with smaller bandgaps.

Porosity of porous silicon carbide increases its electrical resistivity. This trend can be explained by reduced electron conduction through pores. Chemical composition and processing conditions all play a part in this.

Resistance of materials can be calculated by dividing electric current passing through it by applied voltage, with the result expressed in terms of Ohms per Meter (OHMS/m). This unit allows one to compare resistance across different conductors: copper is considered an excellent conductor while iron has higher resistivity levels.

Dielectric Strength

Dielectric strength measures the maximum electric current that a material can tolerate before succumbing to dielectric breakdown, an important criterion in assessing insulation quality when used for high voltage applications such as power electronics. Testing usually involves applying voltage until dielectric breakdown occurs and recording results as Volts per Mil (V/m, MV/m or Volts Per Centimeter).

Silicon carbide (SiC) is an inorganic chemical compound composed of silicon and carbon. As a semiconductor material with wide bandgap energy characteristics, SiC is ideal for switching applications like electric vehicle traction inverters or DC/DC converters in air conditioners. Due to its resistance against high temperatures, oxidation, shock, corrosion and wear-and-tear it makes an excellent choice for car brakes and clutches or ceramic plates in bulletproof vests – not to mention an effective abrasive material with hardness ratings of 9 on Mohs scale as opposed to diamond’s 10. Additionally it makes SiC a popular abrasive material with hardness ratings of 9 on Mohs scale as opposed to diamond’s 10.

SiC’s insulating properties stem from its unique combination of silicon and carbon held together by strong covalent bonds in its crystal lattice. SiC is hard, brittle and difficult to break apart despite having a melting point exceeding 2,000degC and low thermal expansion coefficient; furthermore its resistance to oxidation allows it to be used effectively even in harsh environments where other materials would quickly degrade over time.

SiC is an excellent electrical insulator in its pure state, but doping with impurities to produce semiconductor-like effects can transform its properties. Aluminum or boron doping results in P-type semiconductor behavior while nitrogen and phosphorus impurities produce N-type behavior – this allows SiC to be utilized across many applications due to its ability to control impurity levels effectively.

SiC is measured for its insulating properties using the dielectric strength test as specified in IEC 61010-1 standard. This measurement tests how much voltage a specimen can endure before experiencing dielectric breakdown – usually via electric discharge. Dielectric strength testing typically occurs within controlled laboratory environments but it may also be performed on-site to evaluate electrical equipment’s performance in the field.

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