Intelligent Gate Drivers for Future Power Converters


Jochen Henn, Christoph Lüdecke, Michael Laumen, Steffen Beushausen, Sven Kalker, Christoph H. van der Broeck, Georges Engelmann, Rik W. De Doncker, IEEE Transactions on Power Electronics, Vol. 37, 14. September 2021.



This article gives insights into recent developments in the field of power semiconductor gate drivers that exhibit intelligent features. Such features are active switching transient control and optimization of overshoots, electromagnetic interference, and switching losses. Additionally, these aspects are providing safe operation at fast and extreme switching instances and short-circuit events. Furthermore, integrated sensing capabilities that extract thermal response as well as state-of-health data constitute an intelligent gate driver. During the last decade, researchers transformed gate drivers from simple amplifiers to intelligent control units. Intelligent implies in this context that the driver can gather information and adapt its operation behavior to changing conditions. This includes detecting and clearing fault states, electrical and thermal management, and additionally in situ detection of aging effects. Furthermore, this article identifies challenges and opportunities that arise with intelligent operation of wide-bandgap semiconductors. Future applications of semiconductor devices demand a high level of integration and utilization that can only be achieved by safe operation within but close to their electrical and thermal limits. Intelligent gate drivers provide a unique manipulability that enables high-performance and secure operation through extracting and using information about the switching process and the power module.