Intelligent Gate Drive for Maximizing Performance and Enhancing Reliability of Wide Bandgap Semiconductors


As one can see throughout this website and throughout this field of study, there is plenty of work done with these devices to improve converters; however, whether or not the true capability of these emerging WBG semiconductors is fully utilized and their reliability is guaranteed are questionable. It is a meaningful research to investigate, instead of how WBG can help the project, how WBG can be helped such that its performance can be maximized and reliability can be enhanced in actual converters. Gate drive, with some added intelligence and functionalities to its conventional driving function, has the potentials to fully monitor, actively drive, and promptly protect power devices.


Intelligent gate drive board and intelligent gate drive IC

This project focuses on the development of an intelligent gate drive (IGD) by means of multiple gate assist units to accommodate the unique characteristics of WBG power semiconductors. The proposed IGD will feature: a) smart driving strategy to achieve fast switching, and minimized voltage spike and parasitic ringing simultaneously; b) cross-talk suppression; c) fast response short-circuit protection; d) online junction temperature monitoring; and e) online switching time detection. The proposed IGD will help to fully realize the benefits of WBG devices in a converter, while minimizing their negative impact on design and operation complexity and reliability.

How WBG Can Help

This new WBG technology offers many benefits, especially in power electronics applications and those benefits are well documented throughout this website. The goal of this project is more concerned with highlighting the potential issues of WBG devices like reliability and researching ways to enhance the already advanced technology of WBG devices. With any new technology, engineers have to learn how to best use the technology and this research aims to implement more monitoring and protection technology to these devices and also create better models of the WBG devices. This research also aims to improve the gate driving of the device because just like new innovative cars, the product is only as good as its driver when looking at the overall system.

Personnel Involved

  • Wen Zhang
  • Jeff Dix
  • Jacob Dyer