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IGCT

The Integrated Gate Commutated Thyristor (IGCT) is a new high-power semiconductor device. An IGCT is a
sub family of the GTO thyristor and like the GTO thyristor is a fully-controllable power switch.

[edit] Device Description


Circuit symbol for an IGCT

An IGCT is a special type of thyristor similar to a GTO. They can be turned on and off by a gate signal, have
lower conduction loss as compared to GTOs, and withstand higher rates of voltage rise (dv/dt), such that no
snubber is required for most applications.

The structure of an IGCT is very similar to a GTO thyristor. In an IGCT, the gate turn off current is greater than
the anode current. This results in a complete elimination of minority carrier injection from the lower PN junction
and faster turn off times. The main difference is a reduction in cell size, plus a much more substantial gate
connection with much lower inductance in the gate drive circuit and drive circuit connection. The very high gate
currents plus fast dI/dt rise of the gate current means that regular wires can not be used to connect the gate drive
to the IGCT. The drive circuit PCB is integrated into the package of the device. The drive circuit surrounds the
device and a large circular conductor attaching to the edge of the IGCT die is used. The large contact area and
short distance reduces both the inductance and resistance of the connection.

The IGCT's much faster turn-off times compared to GTO's allows them to operate at higher frequencies--up to
several of kHz for very short periods of time. However, because of high switching losses, typical operating
frequency up to 500 Hz.

[edit] Reverse Bias


IGCT are available with or without reverse blocking capability. Reverse blocking capability adds to the forward
voltage drop because of the need to have a long, low doped P1 region.

IGCT capable of blocking reverse voltage are known as symmetrical IGCT, abbreviated S-IGCT. Usually, the
reverse blocking voltage rating and forward blocking voltage rating are the same. The typical application for
symmetrical IGCT is in current source inverters.

IGCT incapable of blocking reverse voltage are known as asymmetrical IGCT, abbreviated A-IGCT. They
typically have a reverse breakdown rating in the 10's of volts. A-IGCT are used where either a reverse conducting
diode is applied in parallel (for example, in voltage source inverters) or where reverse voltage would never occur
(for example, in switching power supplies or DC traction choppers).

Asymmetrical IGCT can be fabricated with a reverse conducting diode in the same package. These are known as
RC-ICT, for reverse conducting IGCT.

[edit] Applications
The main applications are in variable frequency inverters, drives and traction.