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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/R004501/1
Title: Underpinning Power Electronics 2017: Heterogeneous Integration
Principal Investigator: Empringham, Professor L
Other Investigators:
LIU, Professor C Johnson, Professor CM Zhou, Dr Z
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Faculty of Engineering
Organisation: University of Nottingham
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 November 2017 Ends: 29 April 2022 Value (£): 1,354,962
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Power Electronics
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
25 Apr 2017 Power Electronics 2016-17 Interviews Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Power Electronics has been identified as a high priority area for investment by EPSRC due to its pivotal role in delivering many low carbon technologies from electric vehicles to renewable energy generation, distribution and Smart Grid implementation. Further, the use of wide bandgap semiconductors offer many advantages for power conversion in terms of increased efficiency, high temperature operation, reduced weight and volume and reduced costs. The effective exploitation of wide-bandgap (WBG) semiconductors such as Silicon Carbide (SiC) or Gallium Nitride (GAN) however offer significant challenges in terms of the electrical and management. The efficient operation of WBG devices at higher switching frequencies demands increased voltage and current transition rates and as such, the size and shape of traditional power module layouts become a much larger problem. The problems associated with electro-magnetic interference also increase. The present state of the art in terms of design and construction for power converters are inherently limited in this respect, largely since these technologies are specifically developed for Silicon based semiconductor devices and new methodologies are needed. The way in which power conversion is addressed needs to be changed. Design and manufacturing methodologies which include everything from switching devices through to system level connections are needed in order to fully benefit from the advertised advantages of WBG devices.

As switching speeds increase, it is envisaged that the physical size of the switching cells needs to decrease in order to capitalise on the benefits. In order to do this, more and more of the components or functionalities which traditionally sit outside the power semiconductor packages, will need to be integrated into single objects.

'Heterogeneous Integration' can be loosely described as 'the combination of dis-similar materials and components to create multi-featured, functional blocks or 'systems' and as such, this project theme, as part of the Centre for Power Electronics, will address aspects related to the inclusion of components more traditionally seen at a system level, within new and innovative power module structures. The outcomes of this research will underpin the effective use of Wide Band-Gap (WBG) semiconductors within power electronic converters.

This research, as part of the Centre for Power Electronics, will underpin the future usage of wide bandgap power semiconductors. The technologies and research addressed within this topic will generate a cost effective, high volume manufacturing methodology for the manufacture of highly optimised commutation cells which can then be used by the system designer to create a multitude of power converter sizes and topologies without the need for bespoke engineering for each new product. This technology will not only reduce the problems associated with Electro-Magnetic Interference (EMI) or thermal management of the system but will also create a much easier to use 'system block' for the designer and as such will accelerate the uptake of WBG semiconductors together with the benefits in terms of reductions in raw material usage and increased energy savings that that will bring. The resulting methodologies and technologies will give the UK a strategic advantage with respect to the state of the art of power converter design and construction and will help keep it at the leading edge as a provider of power system solutions for automotive, aerospace, renewable energies, industrial processing and consumer white goods.

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Organisation Website: http://www.nottingham.ac.uk