Doctoral Dissertations

Orcid ID


Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Electrical Engineering

Major Professor

Leon M. Tolbert

Committee Members

Fei (Fred) Wang, Hua Bai, Brian Rowden


10 kV SiC MOSFETs are one of the most promising power semiconductor devices for next-generation high-performance modular medium voltage (MV) converters. With extraordinary device characteristics, 10 kV SiC MOSFETs also bring a variety of challenges in the design and test of MV converters. To tackle these inherent challenges, this dissertation focuses on a robust half bridge (HB) phase leg based on 10 kV SiC MOSFETs for modular MV converters. A baseline design and test of the phase leg is established first as the foundation of the research in this dissertation.

Thorough evaluation of 10 kV SiC MOSFETs’ switching performance in a phase leg is necessary before applying them in MV converters. The impact of parasitic capacitors and the freewheeling diode is investigated to understand the switching performance more extensively and guide the converter design.

One non-negligible challenge is the flashover fault resulting from the premature insulation breakdown, a short circuit fault with extremely fast transients. A device model is established to analyze the behavior of 10 kV SiC MOSFETs when the fault occurs in a phase leg thoroughly. Subsequently, the gate driver and protection design considerations are summarized to achieve lower short circuit current and overvoltage and ensure the survival of the MOSFET that in ON state when the fault happens.

Furthermore, it is challenging to design the overcurrent/short circuit protection with fast response and strong noise immunity under fast switching transients for 10 kV SiC MOSFETs. The noise immunity of the desaturation (desat) protection is studied quantitatively to provide design guidelines for noise immunity enhancement. Then, the protection scheme based on desat protection is developed and validated withimmunity, the strong noise immunity of the developed protection is also successfully validated.

In addition, a simple test scheme is proposed and validated experimentally, in order to qualify the HB phase leg based on the 10 kV SiC MOSFET comprehensively for the modular MV converter applications. The test scheme includes the ac-dc continuous test with two phase legs in series to create the testing condition similar to what is generated in a modular MV converter, especially the high dv/dt. The test scheme can fully test the capability of the phase leg to withstand high dv/dt and its resulting noise.

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