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Analysis and Comparison of a Fast Turn-On Series IGBT Stack and High-Voltage-Rated Commercial IGBTS

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3 Author(s)
Castagno, S. ; Sci. Applications Int. Corp., Albuquerque, NM ; Curry, R.D. ; Loree, E.

High-voltage-rated solid-state switches such as insulated-gate bipolar transistors (IGBTs) are commercially available up to 6.5 kV. Such voltage ratings are attractive for pulsed power and high-voltage switch-mode converter applications. However, as the IGBT voltage ratings increase, the rate of current rise and fall are generally reduced. This tradeoff is difficult to avoid as IGBTs must maintain a low resistance in the epitaxial or drift region layer. For high-voltage-rated IGBTs with thick drift regions to support the reverse voltage, the required high carrier concentrations are injected at turn on and removed at turn off, which slows the switching speed. An option for faster switching is to series multiple, lower voltage-rated IGBTs. An IGBT-stack prototype with six, 1200 V rated IGBTs in series has been experimentally tested. The six-series IGBT stack consists of individual, optically isolated, gate drivers and aluminum cooling plates for forced air cooling which results in a compact package. Each IGBT is overvoltage protected by transient voltage suppressors. The turn-on current rise time of the six-series IGBT stack and a single 6.5 kV rated IGBT has been experimentally measured in a pulsed resistive-load, capacitor discharge circuit. The IGBT stack has also been compared to two IGBT modules in series, each rated at 3.3 kV, in a boost circuit application switching at 9 kHz and producing an output of 5 kV. The six-series IGBT stack results in improved turn-on switching speed, and significantly higher power boost converter efficiency due to a reduced current tail during turn off. The experimental test parameters and the results of the comparison tests are discussed in the following paper

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Plasma Science, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:34 ,  Issue: 5 )