The research work presented in this paper is focused on the modelling of matrix converter systems, targeting field programmable gate arrays (FPGA) for the rapid prototyping of the associated digital electronic controllers. The novel approach is based on a high level description language, Handel-C, used within a modelling environment created by Celoxica Ltd., called DK5. The matrix converter system considered consists of nine bi-directional switches. The model was successfully developed in Handel-C, following the new method, which allows the holistic functional simulation and optimisation of a system to be performed in the same environment as its controller hardware implementation and timing analysis/verification. The controller design is being physically implemented in hardware onto a RC10 development board, fitted with a 1.5 million-gate Spartan 3 FPGA. The experimental testing is currently being carried out.