Early diagnosis in power semiconductors: MOSFET, IGBT, emerging materials (SiC and GaNs)

Antonio Ginart, José M. Aller, George J. Vachtsevanos

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The reliability of a power converter depends mainly on the endurance of its main component, the power semiconductor. Therefore, particular attention is paid in this chapter to understand the models that allow the identification of features and early indicators of problems that establish the groundwork for early fault diagnosis in inverters. The two major switch technologies that control the market are field-effect transistors (FETs) and insulated gate bipolar transistors (IGBTs), which are bipolar devices integrating concepts from bipolar junction transistors (BJTs; IGBTs) which are bipolar devices integrating concepts from BJTs and FETs. From the beginning of power electronics, silicon-based semiconductors have been the undisputed king, but modern silicon-based power semiconductors are being challenged by silicon carbide (SiC) and more recently by gallium nitride (GaN). Regardless of the semiconductor material, early diagnostics in semiconductors are based not only on the understanding of the failure mechanisms but also on the “parasitic structures” that are intrinsically associated with the fabrication of the device. The identification and characterization of these “parasitic or associated structures” allow for the development of unified models with general characteristics across different materials and structures of power semiconductors. The aging effects are, in general, reflected in the parasitic structures early in the process of degradation, creating an ideal approach for understanding failure propagation. Fortunately, semiconductor devices share a similar structure, and a standard model across all power semiconductors is used in this chapter to understand aging and to enable early diagnostics.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFault Diagnosis for Robust Inverter Power Drives
PublisherInstitution of Engineering and Technology
Number of pages33
ISBN (Electronic)9781785614101
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Institution of Engineering and Technology 2019.


  • Ageing
  • Aging effects
  • Bipolar devices
  • Bipolar junction transistors
  • Bipolar transistors
  • BJT
  • Degradation process
  • Failure analysis
  • Failure mechanisms
  • Failure propagation
  • Fault diagnosis
  • FET
  • Field-effect transistors
  • Gallium compounds
  • Gallium nitride
  • GaN
  • IGBT
  • III-V semiconductors
  • Insulated gate bipolar transistors
  • Insulated gate field effect transistors
  • Inverters
  • Invertors
  • Parasitic structures
  • Power bipolar transistors
  • Power converter reliability
  • Power convertors
  • Power electronics
  • Power electronics, supply and supervisory circuits
  • Power MOSFET
  • Power semiconductor devices
  • Power semiconductors diagnosis
  • Power semiconductors model
  • Reliability
  • Semiconductor device modelling, equivalent circuits, design and testing
  • Semiconductor device models
  • Semiconductor device reliability
  • SiC
  • Silicon carbide
  • Silicon compounds
  • Silicon-based power semiconductors
  • Wide band gap semiconductors


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