Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Electrical Engineering

Major Professor

Leon M. Tolbert

Committee Members

Fred Wang, Kevin Bai, William R. Hamel


To meet the higher efficiency and power density requirement for power converters, the switching speed of power devices is preferred to increase. Thanks to silicon carbide (SiC) power MOSFETs, their intrinsic superior switching characteristics compared with silicon IGBTs makes it possible to run converters at faster switching speed in hard switching applications. Nevertheless, the switching speed is not only dependent on the device’s characteristics, but also strongly related to the circuit like gate drive and parasitics. To fully utilize the potential of SiC MOSFETs, the impact factors limiting the switching speed are required to be understood. Specific solutions and methods need to be developed to mitigate the influence from these impact factors.The characterization of the switching speed for SiC MOSFETs with different current ratings is conducted with double pulse test (DPT) first. Based on the result, the impact factors of switching speed are evaluated in detail.According to the evaluation, the switching speed of SiC discrete devices with low current rating is mainly limited by the gate drive capability. A current source gate drive as well as a charge pump gate drive are proposed, which can provide higher current during the switching transient regardless of the low transconductance and large internal gate resistance of SiC discrete devices.For SiC power modules with high current rating, the switching speed is mainly determined by the device drain-source overvoltage resulting from circuit parasitics. An analytical model for the multiple switching loops related overvoltage in 3L-ANPC converters is established. A simple modulation is developed to mitigate the effect of the non-linear device output capacitance, which helps reduce the overvoltage and enables higher switching speed operation of SiC power modules.Furthermore, the layout design methodology for three-level converters concerning the multiple commutation loops is introduced. The development of a laminated busbar for a 500 kVA 3L-ANPC converter with SiC power modules is presented in detail.Finally, a SiC based 1 MW inverter is built and tested to operate at cryogenic temperature. The proposed control and busbar above are utilized to increase the switching speed of the SiC power module.

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