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ES4D4 - Power Electronic Converters and Devices

(15 Credits)

Aims: Practically all electronic equipment, whether domestic or industrial, requires power conditioning to deliver the energy for it to operate correctly. This is using electronics for power processing, not information processing. The applications vary widely from power supplies for laptops and mobile phone chargers, through industrial motor drives, hybrid and electric vehicle drives, electric rail transport, to solar and wind energy systems and power transmission and distribution systems.

The module aims are:

  • To introduce the concept of power electronics as power processing and control, and to present the range of applications of power electronics in today’s society.
  • To introduce power semiconductor devices as basic switching elements used in power electronic converters, and describe the theory of their operation.
  • To introduce power electronic converters, explain their operation and give examples of applications.
  • To develop an understanding of the issues present in converter and device design, including the impact of physical layout and heat dissipation.

Learning Outcomes:

By the end of the module the student should be able to:

  • Describe the operation of power semiconductor devices; apply the concepts of device physics in the context of device switching in a power converter.
  • Design a simple power converter, including a DC-DC converter and 3-phase inverter.
  • Analyse the design of a motor drive, including the control system and converter.
  • Explain the practical issues in converter design.
  • Appreciate the applications of power electronics and the development of new devices and materials..


  • Introduction to power electronics, devices and applications.
  • Power semiconductor device physics: diodes, thyristors, bipolar transistors, MOSFETs, IGBTs, high voltage power ICs
  • Power converters: DC-DC converters, isolated converters, bridges and 3-phase inverters, resonant converters
  • Drives: basics of induction machine and synchronous machine drives.
  • Practical aspects of converters: gate drives, snubbering, losses, thermal issues, packaging, reliability, stray inductance
  • New materials: silicon carbide, gallium nitride, schottky diodes, HEMTs
  • Design and simulation of converters and devices
  • Applications: solar power, distributed generation, wind power, hybrid & electric vehicles.

Illustrative Bibliography:

Power Electronics: Converters, Applications and Design Mohan, N. John Wiley & Sons (2003) ISBN 9780471226932
Modern power electronics : (for B.E./B.Tech. and M.E./M.Tech. students of electronics & electrical engineering) Sen, P. C. Chand & Co (2005) ISBN 9788121924252
Power electronics handbook : devices, circuits, and applications Rashid, M. H. Butterworth-Heinemann (2011) ISBN 9780123820365
Fundamentals of power electronics Erickson, R. W. Kluwer Academic Publishers (2001) ISBN 9780792372707