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The emergence of high power converters makes the modern power grid more active than it was before. One of the research directions in this area is the solid state transformer, which aims at replacing the traditional 50/60 Hz power transformer by means of high frequency isolated AC/AC solid state conversion techniques. This paper presents a systematical technology review essential for the development of solid state transformer in the distribution system, especially focusing on the following four areas: high voltage and high frequency power devices, high power and high frequency transformers, AC/AC converter topologies, and applications of solid state transformer in the distribution system. For each category, the state-of-art technologies are reviewed and possible research directions are presented. It is concluded that the solid state transformer is an emerging technology for the modernization of the future smart grid.