New Industry Products

Power Integration’s 3300V IGBT Gate Driver Enables Telemetry, Advanced Analytics

July 08, 2023 by Jake Hertz

With advanced telemetry, the new product supports predictive maintenance and lifetime modeling.

The power electronics industry has recently turned to new forms of transistors (aside from the conventional MOSFET and BJT) to achieve higher voltage operation and better performance. One such transistor is the insulated gate bipolar transistor (IGBT), which blends the benefits of BJTs and MOSFETs to achieve a greater power electronics solution.

 

Set of insulated gate bipolar transistors on silicone washers

Set of insulated gate bipolar transistors on silicone washers. Image used courtesy of Adobe Stock
 

However, while these new transistors introduce greater performance, they require unique control circuitry to operate correctly. Specifically, gate drivers are necessary for IGBT devices to ensure correct turn-on and turn-off behavior and optimize performance. 

Power Integrations has launched a new plug-and-play IGBT gate driver solution that enables telemetry and advanced analytics. 

 

Why Gate Drivers for IGBTs?

Insulated gate bipolar transistors are a type of power electronic device that combines MOSFETs' high-speed switching capabilities with the high-voltage and high-current handling capabilities of bipolar transistors. 

Like a normal MOSFET, IGBTs use a voltage-controlled gate to modulate current conduction between the collector and emitter terminals. Unlike a normal MOSFET, the gate of an IGBT is insulated from the rest of the transistor, hence the name insulated gate. This insulation gives the gate a high input impedance, requiring very little current to switch the transistor on and off. However, the gate does have capacitance, which means it requires a certain amount of charge to change its voltage.

 

A comparison of transistor types

A comparison of transistor types. Image used courtesy of Toshiba 
 

This is where dedicated gate drivers come in. Gate drivers are specialized circuits designed to provide the necessary voltage and current to switch the IGBT on and off quickly and efficiently. They do this by sourcing or sinking the required charge to or from the gate capacitance to change the operating region of the device. Without a dedicated gate driver, the IGBT may not switch on or off quickly enough, leading to increased power losses and potentially damaging the device.

Furthermore, gate drivers often provide additional features such as protection against over-voltage, under-voltage, short circuits, and monitoring and feedback capabilities. 

 

Power Integrations’ IGBT Gate Driver Solution

Power Integrations has launched an IGBT gate driver solution that brings a whole suite of new functionality to the table.

The 1SP0635V2A0D is a plug-and-play single-channel IGBT gate driver solution powered by Power Integrations’ SCALE-2 family. The device features a versatile fiber-optic interface, features block voltages up to 3300 V, a peak gate current of 35 A, and a maximum output power of 3 W. Most notably, the system comes equipped with support for a plethora of sensing and monitoring options - enabling advanced analytics and transparency in system operation.

 

A block diagram of the 1SP0635V2A0D

A block diagram of the 1SP0635V2A0D. Image used courtesy of Power Integrations

 

Outwardly, the 1SP0635V2A0D has dedicated blocks for gate monitoring, DC-link monitoring, and temperature monitoring via an external NTC interface. Inwardly, the system features dynamic VCE monitoring (short-circuit protection), dynamic, advanced active clamping (overvoltage protection at turn-off), and power supply monitoring for the system.

With this large telemetry suite, Power Integrations markets the product as capable of providing greater transparency into device and system operation. More importantly, they claim the system can enable advanced analytics such as predictive maintenance and lifetime modeling. Through these features, the hope is to allow for more optimized operation for device gate control for greater device lifetime and more efficient performance. 

For these reasons, Power Integrations claims the device is ideal for application areas such as rail traction inverters, power grids, and medium-voltage drives.