Imperial College GaN inverter design scoops £2,000 prize

A team of postgraduate students from the Department of Electrical & Electronic Engineering at Imperial College London have been named the first winners of a £2,000 prize launched this year for work that contributes to accelerating the adoption of GaN transistors in power conversion of control applications.

The Geoff Haynes Future Power Challenge is sponsored by GaN Systems and was set up to recognise the critical role played by Geoff Haynes, who retired as the company’s vice-president last year, in establishing the company and championing the use of gallium nitride for power applications.

The Imperial team were presented with their prize at a ceremony held during the EPSRC Centre for Power Electronics Annual Conference in Nottingham. The competition was open to all UK students who submitted research papers or posters for the summer school event, which is organised by postgraduates from the ten universities involved in the EPSRC group to increase communication and co-operation between research teams and provide an opportunity for them to meet prospective employers and research partners.

PhD students George Kkelis and Juan Arteaga, and research assistants Sam Aldhaher and David Yates, who were supervised by Dr Paul Mitcheson, first presented their work at the IEEE Wireless Power Transfer Conference in May this year. They developed two inverter prototypes, each based on a Class EF topology using GaN Systems’ GS66504B switches. The new design maintains zero-voltage switching and delivers a constant-output alternating current regardless of load resistance value. The resulting ability to allow a Class E or Class EF inverter to operate efficiently for any load was shown to significantly relax the requirement for accurate alignment of transmit and receive coils in a wireless power application.

Presenting the award, GaN Systems president and co-founder Girvan Patterson underlined the importance of supporting the research initiatives between industry and academia to accelerate the adoption of disruptive technologies and inspire a new generation of engineers.

Other entries covered subjects as diverse as the design of a novel compact motor with embedded filter windings, through a reliability study and optimised PWM control strategy for an A-NPC converter.

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