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Feb 9 2018

What is the Difference Between MOSFET and IGBT

Warm hints: The word in this article is about 3000 and  reading time is about 15 minutes.


This paper is main about differences between MOSFET and IGBT, we will learn about their respective advantage and disadvantage and structure difference,how to choose MOSFET or IGBT and etc. by MOSFET VS IGBT. such as the switching losses in hard-switched and soft-switched ZVS topologies and the three main power switching losses associated with the circuit and device characteristics - conduction loss, conduction loss, and shutdown Loss is described. In addition, diode recovery performance is the primary factor that determines MOSFET or IGBT on-state switching loss. The effect of diode recovery on the hard-switching topology is also discussed.

Article core

MOSFET vs IGBT detailed distinction


Performance comparison of IGBTs and MOSFETs for specific SMPS applications

English name



Power semiconductor devices


Provide circuit drive power

Related product

Diodes, Transistors, and Thyristors



I.MOSFET and IGBT structure difference

3.2 Advantage and Disadvantage between IGBT

VII.Turn-off loss - the problem is not over yet

II.MOSFET and IGBT power difference

IV.MOSFET and IGBT application characteristics

VIII.How to choose MOSFET and IGBT

III.Advantage and Disadvantage between MOSFET and IGBT

V.Conduction loss in MOSFET or IGBT

3.1 Advantage and Disadvantage between MOSFET

VI.conduction loss equation


I.MOSFET and IGBT structure difference

Due to the structure of the MOSFET, it can usually reach a large current and can reach the KA, but the precondition is that the voltage capability is not strong.Let's see a video about what's the difference between MOSFET and IGBT at first.

This video is about a simple description about mosfet and IGBT technology.

II.MOSFET and IGBT power difference

IGBT can provide a lot of power, current and voltage, however, the frequency is not too high. The current IGBT hard switching speed can reach 100KHZ, it is already good. However, relative to the MOSFET's operating frequency is still a drop in the bucket, the MOSFET can work to hundreds of KHZ, MHZ, and even dozens of MHZ, RF products.

examples about IGBT hard-switching circuits

Picture is a examples about IGBT hard-switching circuits

III.Advantage and Disadvantage between MOSFET and IGBT

3.1 Advantage and Disadvantage between MOSFET

The MOSFET is a three-terminal (gate, drain, and source) fully-controlled switch. The gate/control signal occurs between the gate and source, and its switch terminals are the drain and source. The gate itself is made of metal, separated from the source and drain using a metal oxide. This allows for less power consumption, and makes the transistor a great choice for use as an electronic switch or common-source amplifier.In order to function properly, MOSFETs have to maintain a positive temperature coefficient. This means there’s little-to-no chance of thermal runaway. On-state losses are lower because the transistor’s on-state-resistance, theoretically speaking, has no limit. Also, because MOSFETs can operate at high frequencies, they can perform fast switching applications with little turn-off losses.

There are many different types of MOSFETs, but the one most comparable to the IGBT is the power MOSFET. It’s specially designed to handle significant power levels. They’re only used in “on” or “off” states, which has resulted in their being the most widely used low-voltage switch. When compared to the IGBT, a power MOSFET has the advantages of higher commutation speed and greater efficiency during operation at low voltages. What’s more, it can sustain a high blocking voltage and maintain a high current. This is because most power MOSFETs structures are vertical (not planar). Its voltage rating is a direct function of the doping and thickness of the N-epitaxial layer, and its current rating is related to the channel’s width (the wider the channel, the higher the current). Due to its efficiency, power MOSFETs are used in power supplies, dc/dc converters, and low-voltage motor controllers.

3.2 Advantage and Disadvantage between IGBT

The IGBT is also a three terminal (gate, collector, and emitter) full-controlled switch. Its gate/control signal takes place between the gate and emitter, and its switch terminals are the drain and emitter. It combines the simple gate-drive characteristics found in the MOSFET with the high-current and low-saturation-voltage capability of a bipolar transistor. It does this by using an isolated gate field effect transistor for the control input, and a bipolar power transistor as a switch. What’s more,The IGBT is specially designed to turn on and off rapidly. In fact, its pulse repetition frequency actually gets into the ultrasonic range. This unique capability is why IGBTs are often used with amplifiers to synthesize complex waveforms with pulse width modulation and low-pass filters. They’re also used to generate large power pulses in areas like particle and plasma physics, and have established a role in modern appliances like electric cars, trains, variable-speed refrigerators, air conditioners, and more.More detail you can see this paper“MOSFET vs. IGBT”.

IV.MOSFET and IGBT application characteristics

As for Its application, according to its characteristics: MOSFET is sed in switching power supply(you can have a see this paper "The Working Principle of High-Power Adjustable Switching Power Supply", ballast, high frequency induction heating, high frequency inverter welding machine, communication power supply and so on high frequency power supply. IGBT focus on welding, inverters, inverters, electrolytic plating power supply, super audio induction heating and other fields.

The performance of the Switch Mode Power Supply (SMPS) is heavily dependent on the choice of power semiconductor devices, namely the switch and the rectifier.

MOSFET switching power supply circuit

Example of MOSFET switching power supply circuit 

Although there is no comprehensive solution to the problem of selecting IGBTs or MOSFETs, comparing the performance of IGBTs and MOSFETs in specific SMPS applications, it is still possible to determine the range of key parameters.


V.Conduction loss in MOSFET or IGBT

In addition to IGBT voltage drop longer, IGBT and power MOSFET conduction characteristics are very similar. From the basic IGBT equivalent circuit (see Figure 1), it can be seen that the time required to fully adjust the minority carriers of the PNP BJT collector base region results in the occurrence of a voltage tailing voltage.

IGBT equivalent circuit

Figure 1: IGBT equivalent circuit

This delay causes a Quasi-saturation effect so that the collector / emitter voltage does not immediately drop to its VCE (sat) value. This effect also causes the VCE voltage to rise in the ZVS case at the moment when the load current is switched from the shunt-connected, antiparallel diode of the package to the collector of the IGBT.

The Eon energy consumption listed in the IGBT datasheet is the time integral of the product of Icollector and VCE for each conversion cycle in Joules and contains additional losses related to class saturation. It is further divided into two Eon energy parameters, Eon1 and Eon2. Eon1 does not include the power loss associated with hard switching diode losses and Eon2 includes the hard switching turn-on energy associated with diode recovery, which can be measured by restoring the same diode as the diode-packaged diode. Typically, Eon2 test circuit shown in Figure 2. The IGBT measures Eon by switching on and off with two pulses. The first pulse will increase the inductor current to achieve the desired test current, and then the second pulse will measure the Eon loss at which the test current recovers on the diode.

Typical on-energy Eon and off-energy Eoff test circuit

Figure 2: Typical on-energy Eon and off-energy Eoff test circuit

The Eon switching loss is determined by the gate drive voltage and impedance and the recovery characteristics of the rectifier diode with the hard switch on. For traditional CCM boost PFC circuits, the boost diode recovery feature is extremely important in Eon (on) energy consumption control. In addition to choosing a boost diode with minimum Trr and QRR, it is also important to ensure that the diode has soft recovery characteristics. Softness, the ratio of tb / ta, has a considerable effect on the electrical noise and voltage spikes produced by switching devices.

Some high-speed diodes have a high rate of current drop (di / dt) from the IRM (REC) during time tb, causing high voltage spikes in the circuit's parasitic inductance. These voltage spikes can cause electromagnetic interference (EMI) and can cause excessive reverse voltage on the diode.

In hard-switching circuits, such as full-bridge and half-bridge topologies, packages packaged with IGBTs are fast recovery transistors or MOSFET body diodes. When the corresponding switch conducts, the diode has a current flowing through it, and the diode recovery characteristics determine Eon loss. So, it is very important to choose MOSFET with fast body diode recovery characteristic. Unfortunately, the recovery characteristics of the parasitic diode or body diode of the MOSFET are slower than the discrete diodes currently used in the industry. Therefore, for hard-switching MOSFET applications, the body diode is often the limiting factor that determines the operating frequency of the SMPS.

In general, IGBT package diodes are chosen to match their application, with slower ultrafast diodes with lower forward conduction losses and slower low VCE (sat) motor-driven IGBT packages. In contrast, the soft recovery ultrafast diode can be packaged with the high frequency SMPS2 switch-mode IGBT combination. In addition to choosing the right diode, designers can also control Eon losses by adjusting the gate-drive turn-on source impedance. Reducing the drive source impedance will increase the on / off of the IGBT or MOSFET and reduce the Eon loss. Eon losses and EMI need to be compromised, as higher di / dt leads to voltage spikes, increased radiated and conducted EMI. In order to select the correct gate drive impedance to meet the turn-on di / dt requirement, internal testing and verification of the circuit may be required. The approximate value of the MOSFET transition curve can then be determined (see Figure 3).

MOSFET transfer characteristics

Figure 3: MOSFET transfer characteristics

Assuming that the FET current rises to 10 A at turn-on, the gate voltage must transition from 5.2 V to 6.7 V to achieve a value of 10 A according to the curve at 25 ° C in Figure 3 with an average GFS of 10 A / (6.7 V- 5.2V) = 6.7mΩ.

Equation 1 yields the gate drive impedance for the desired on di / dt

Equation 1 yields the gate drive impedance for the desired on di / dt

Applying the average GFS value to Equation 1 results in a gate drive voltage of Vdrive = 10V, the required di / dt = 600A / μs, FCP11N60 typical values of VGS (avg) = 6V and Ciss = 1200pF; The gate drive impedance is 37Ω. Since the transient GFS value is a diagonal line in the graph of Figure 3, a change occurs during Eon, meaning di / dt also changes. The exponentially decaying gate drive current Vdrive and falling Ciss also enter the formula as a function of VGS, exhibiting an overall effect with surprising linear current rise.

Similarly, similar gate drive on-resistance calculations can be performed for IGBTs. VGE (avg) and GFS can be determined by the IGBT switching characteristics and CIES values at VGE (avg) are used instead of Ciss. Calculated IGBT turn-on gate drive impedance of 100Ω, higher than the previous 37Ω, indicating that IGBT GFS higher CIES lower. The key point here is that in order to switch from the MOSFET to the IGBT, the gate drive circuit must be tuned.

VI.conduction loss equation

IGBTs typically have less conduction loss than 600 V MOSFETs of the same chip size when compared to devices rated at 600V. Such comparisons should be made when the collector and drain current densities are clearly sensed and at the worst case operating junction temperature. For example, the FGP20N6S2 SMPS2 IGBTs and the FCP11N60 SuperFETs each have a RθJC value of 1 ° C / W. Figure 4 shows the conduction loss versus dc current at a junction temperature of 125 ° C. The plot shows that the conduction loss of the MOSFET is greater at dc currents greater than 2.92A.

Conduction loss DC workConduction losses in CCM boost PFC circuit

Figure 4: Conduction loss DC work and Figure 5: Conduction losses in CCM boost PFC circuit

However, the dc conduction losses in Figure 4 are less suitable for most applications. Meanwhile, Figure 5 shows the comparison of conduction losses in CCM (continuous current mode), step-up PFC circuit, junction temperature of 125 ° C, and operating modes of AC input voltage Vac of 85V and DC output voltage of 400 Vdc. In the figure, the curve-crossing point of MOSFET-IGBT is 2.65A RMS. For PFC circuits, MOSFETs have greater conduction losses when the AC input current is greater than 2.65A RMS. The 2.65A PFC AC input current is equal to 2.29A RMS calculated by Equation 2 in the MOSFET. The MOSFET conduction loss, I2R, the current defined by Equation 2, and the RDS (on) of the MOSFET at 125 ° C are calculated. Taking RDS (on) into account for changes in drain current, the conduction loss can be further refined, as shown in Figure 6.

FCP11N60 (MOSFET): RDS (on) with IDRAIN and VGE changes

FIgure 6: FCP11N60 (MOSFET): RDS (on) with IDRAIN and VGE changes

An article entitled “How to Include the RDS (on) Power MOSFET's Dependence of Drain Current Transient Values on Conductance Losses in High Frequency Three-Phase PWM Inverters” on IEEE describes how to determine the drain current Effect on conduction loss. As a function ID, changes in RDS (on) have little effect on most SMPS topologies. For example, in the PFC circuit, when the peak current ID of the FCP11N60 MOSFET is 11 A - twice the 5.5 A (RDS (on) specification), the effective value of RDS (on) and the conduction loss increase by 5 %.

In the high-pulsating current topology where MOSFETs conduct very small duty cycles, the characteristics shown in Figure 6 should be considered. If the FCP11N60 MOSFET is operated in a circuit with a drain current of 20A pulses (ie, 5.5A RMS) with a duty cycle of 7.5%, the effective RDS (on) will be less than 5.5A (test current in the datasheet) 0.32 ohm big 25%.

Equation 2 RMS current in the CCM PFC circuit

Equation 2 RMS current in the CCM PFC circuit

In Equation 2, Iacrms is the PFC circuit RMS input current; Vac is the PFC circuit RMS input voltage; Vout is the DC output voltage.

In practical applications, calculating the conduction losses of IGBTs in similar PFC circuits will be more complicated because each switching cycle is performed on different ICs. The IGBT's VCE (sat) can not be represented by a single impedance. The simpler, straightforward method is to represent it as a resistor RFCE in series with a fixed VFCE voltage, VCE (ICE) = ICE × RFCE + VFCE. The conduction loss can then be calculated as the product of the average collector current and VFCE, plus the square of the RMS collector current, multiplied by the impedance RFCE.

The example in Figure 5 considers only the conduction loss of the CCM PFC circuit, which is assumed to be less than 15W for the design target with the worst case of conduction. Taking FCP11N60 MOSFET as an example, this circuit is limited to 5.8A, and FGP20N6S2 IGBT can work under 9.8A AC input current. It conducts more than 70% of the MOSFET power. Although IGBTs have low conduction losses, most 600V IGBTs are PT (Punch Through) devices. PT devices have NTC (negative temperature coefficient) characteristics and can not shunt in parallel. Perhaps, these devices can be paralleled with limited success by matching devices VCE (sat), VGE (TH) (gate firing threshold voltage), and mechanical packages so that the temperature of the IGBT chips can be kept in constant agreement. In contrast, the MOSFET has a PTC (Positive Temperature Coefficient) that provides good current shunting.

VII.Turn-off loss - the problem is not over yet

In hard-switched, clamp-inductive circuits, MOSFETs have much lower turn-off losses than IGBTs because of the tailing current of the IGBTs, which is related to the minority carrier removal of the PNP BJTs in Figure 1. Figure 7 shows the function Eoff of collector current ICE and junction temperature Tj, the curves of which are provided in most IGBT datasheets. These curves are based on clamped inductive circuits and have the same test voltage and contain trailing current energy losses.

IGBT Eoff with ICE and Tj changes

Figure 7: IGBT Eoff with ICE and Tj changes

Figure 2 shows a typical test circuit for measuring IGBT Eoff. Its test voltage, VDD in Figure 2, varies with BVCES for different manufacturers and individual devices. The VDD in this test condition should be considered when comparing devices because testing and operation at a lower VDD clamp voltage will result in lower Eoff power consumption.

Reducing the gate drive off resistance has little effect on reducing the IGBT Eoff loss. As shown in Figure 1, there is still a storage time delay td (off) I in the IGBT minority carriers BJT when the equivalent multi-carrier MOSFET is off. However, reducing the Eoff drive impedance will reduce the risk of current injection into the gate drive loop due to Miller capacitance CRES and dv / dt with the VCE turned off, preventing the device from being biased to a conductive state, resulting in Multiple Eoff-generating switching actions.

ZVS and ZCS topologies reduce the turn-off losses of MOSFETs and IGBTs. However, the benefits of ZVS are not so great in IGBTs. As the tailing inrush current Eoff is induced when the collector voltage rises to a potential that allows excess stored charge to dissipate. ZCS topology can enhance the maximum IGBT Eoff performance. The correct gate drive sequence allows the IGBT gate signal not to be cleared before the second collector current crosses zero, significantly reducing the IGBT ZCS Eoff.

The Eoff energy consumption of a MOSFET is a function of its Miller capacitance Crss, gate drive speed, gate drive off source impedance, and parasitic inductance in the source power circuit path. The circuit parasitic inductance Lx (Figure 8) produces a potential that increases the turn-off loss by limiting the current speed drop. At shutdown, the rate of current drop rate di / dt, is determined by Lx and VGS (th). If Lx = 5nH, VGS (th) = 4V, the maximum current drop rate is VGS (th) / Lx = 800A / μs.

Gate Drive Circuit in Typical Hard-Switching Applications

Figure 8: Gate Drive Circuit in Typical Hard-Switching Applications


VIII.How to choose MOSFET and IGBT

MOSFETs and IGBTs are fast replacing a large majority of older solid-state and mechanical devices. It’s a movement that doesn’t look like it’s going to slow down any time soon either, especially with the development of silicon carbide (SiC) material quality. SiC power devices are showing developers advantages like less loss, smaller size, and improved efficiency. Innovations like this will continue to push the limits of MOSFETs and IGBTs into higher-voltage and higher-power applications. As a result, tradeoffs and overlaps are likely to continue in many applications. With that being the case, careful analysis of the device itself is perhaps the most logical solution when faced with the task of selecting a transistor for your SMPS application.

There are no comprehensive solutions when choosing power switching devices. Circuit topologies, operating frequencies, ambient temperatures, and physical dimensions all are playing a significant role in making the best choice. In ZVS and ZCS applications with minimal Eon loss, MOSFETs can operate at higher frequencies due to their faster switching speeds and less switching losses. The recovery behavior of MOSFET parasitic diodes may be a disadvantage for hard switching applications. In contrast, the excellent soft recovery diodes are compatible with higher speed SMPS devices because the diodes in the IGBT package are tailored to specific applications.

Cloclusion: There is no essential difference between MOSFE and IGBT. People often ask the question of “whether MOSFET is good or IGBT is good" is itself a mistake. Why do we sometimes use MOSFET, sometimes use IGBT instead of MOSFET? It can not simply to describe the good and bad side to distinguish and determine. We need use dialectical methods to consider this issue.

Book Recommendation

  • MOSFET. IGBT driver ICs and application(Chinese Edition)

This book is mainly talking about MOSFET. IGBT driver ICs and application.

--BEN SHE.YI MING (Author)

  • MOSFET Theory and Design

Developed for a one-semester course at the junior, senior, or graduate level, MOSFET Theory and Design presents a clear, in-depth treatment of physical analysis and design principles for the MOSFET. By focusing solely on the MOSFET, this slim volume recognizes the dominance of this device in today's microelectronics technology while also providing students with an efficient text free of extra subject matter. MOSFET Theory and Design offers a "hands on" approach to learning, employing analytic, computer, and design problems. It incorporates additional pedagogical aids such as a book summary, review questions that emphasize essential points, in-text exercises with accompanying solutions, and a comprehensive bibliography.

--MOSFET Theory and Design

  • The IGBT Device: Physics, Design and Applications of the Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistor

The IGBT device has proved to be a highly important Power Semiconductor, providing the basis for adjustable speed motor drives (used in air conditioning and refrigeration and railway locomotives), electronic ignition systems for gasolinepowered motor vehicles and energy-saving compact fluorescent light bulbs. Recent applications include plasma displays (flat-screen TVs) and electric power transmission systems, alternative energy systems and energy storage. This book is the first available to cover the applications of the IGBT, and provide the essential information needed by applications engineers to design new products using the device, in sectors including consumer, industrial, lighting, transportation, medical and renewable energy.

--B. Jayant Baliga (Author)

Relevant information about "Analyze the Differences Between MOSFET vs IGBT"

About the article "Analyze the Differences Between MOSFET vs IGBT", If you have better ideas, don't hesitate to  write your thoughts in the following comment area. You also can find more articles about electronic semiconductor through Google search engine, or refer to the following related articles.


    • sarah on 2018-3-29 11:00:52

    The page is comprehensive while I think what is mosfet should be introduced here. MOSFET is a field effect transistor that can be widely used in analog and digital circuits. In accordance with the polarity of its channel, the MOSFET can be divided into two types: "N" and "P". They are usually referred to as NMOSFET and PMOSFET, and other referred to include NMOS, PMOS, etc. The core of MOSFET: metal oxide layer - semiconductor capacitor. MOSFET has 4 Clock types: P channel enhancement, P channel depletion, N channel enhancement, and N channel depletion type.

      • author on 2018-3-29 11:03:07


      Thank you for your supplement. 

    • sarah on 2018-3-29 11:05:12

    IGBT is the core device of energy conversion and transmission. It is commonly known as "CPU" of power electronic devices. As a national strategic emerging industry, it is widely applied in rail transportation, smart grid, aerospace, electric vehicle and new energy equipment. The IGBT module has the characteristics of energy saving, convenient installation and maintenance, stable heat dissipation and so on. Currently, most of the products sold on the market are such modular products. Generally speaking, IGBT also refers to IGBT modules. With the promotion of the concept of energy saving and environmental protection, such products will be seen more and more in the market.

    • electric on 2018-3-29 11:07:48

    Functionally, IGBT is a circuit switch that is used on a strong power of dozens to hundreds of volts and several hundred and hundreds of amperes. (relative, the electric voltage of the mobile phone and computer circuit board is low, which is the main transmission signal, and all belong to the weak electricity.) It can be considered a transistor, and the voltage and current are too large. The lamp switch in the home is controlled by a button. IGBT does not use a mechanical button, it is controlled by a computer. The feature of IGBT is that, at its current and voltage level, it supports the highest switching speed, and can switch tens of thousands of times a second. GTO was also used in rail traffic, but GTO low switching speed, high loss, now only the maximum voltage current more than IGBT range is used; IGCT is essentially GTO, but the structure was optimized, the switching speed and maximum voltage current between GTO and IGBT between the high power MOSFET is fast; but, can not support the voltage and current so big, otherwise it will burn.

      • author on 2018-3-29 11:08:49


      Because of the IGBT switch, we can design a class of circuits, control the IGBT by computer, turn the alternating current of the power side into a DC voltage of a given voltage, or turn all kinds of electric power into the alternating current of the required frequency, and use it to the load. This type of circuit is called the converter.

    • Samantha on 2018-3-29 11:12:24

    @electric @author IGBT is a controllable device, which can control its gate by switching the signal to realize the output off between CE. Nowadays, DC-AC switches in the new energy industry, such as high speed rail, wind power, photovoltaic and electric vehicles, transform the DC power on the bus to AC output, which is often referred to as the inverter unit. Compared with the similar applications, IGBT has a higher switching frequency than the GTO, and has a higher voltage resistance than the MOS.

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