This affects high-efficiency and robust systems that require power electronics with sophisticated intelligence in order to meet the demands of power consumption. Several day-to-day applications that necessitate these requirements are data centers, telecommunications base stations, industrial automation, motor drives and grid infrastructure. Each has their own power-level requirements, topologies and appropriate choice of power switches.
For example, data centers and telecommunications applications use power metal oxide semiconductors (MOSFET) simply because these applications need to switch faster while increasing the system power density. On the other hand, industrial automation and motor drives typically deploy insulated bipolar gate transistors (IGBT) due to their highvoltage requirement and higher power levels. Grid infrastructure equipment such as solar inverters have the flexibility to choose any of the power switches, depending on the inverter type and power level.
Human machine interface (HMI) is involved in these applications. Additionally, intelligent systems such as controllers and communication peripherals need protection from the high-power and high-voltage circuitry. This is achieved through isolation. Also, integrating the isolation circuitry with the power transfer components helps to reduce system size cost. One key trend is to integrate the gate driver with an isolator (the device that performs the isolation function) known as the isolated gate driver. This is becoming a key trend that makes these system-level features attractive.
The focus of this paper is twofold. The first is to understand why an isolated gate driver has become so attractive, which is illustrated by walking through an application. The second is to identify the requirements of an isolated driver as a function of the power switch.