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This paper proposes a novel modulation technique to be applied to multilevel voltage-source converters suitable for high-voltage power supplies and flexible AC transmission system devices. The proposed technique can generate output stepped waveforms with a wide range of modulation indexes and minimized total voltage harmonic distortion. The main power devices switch only once per cycle, as is suitable for high-power applications. In addition to meeting the minimum turn-on and turn-off time requirements for high-power semiconductor switches, the proposed technique excludes from the synthesized waveform any pulses that are either too narrow or too wide. By using a systematic method, only the polarities and the number of levels need to be determined for different modulation levels. To verify the theory and the simulation results, a cascaded converter-based hardware prototype, including an 8-b microcontroller as well as modularized power stage and gate driver circuits, is implemented. Experimental results indicate that the proposed technique is effective for the reduction of harmonics in multilevel converters, and both the theoretical and simulation results are well validated.
Date of Publication: Aug 2002