Powerelectronics 3676 Baliga Igbt Book Cover Formatted

Book Review: The IGBT Device

Sept. 22, 2015
The IGBT made a large impact on many sectors of the economy almost immediately after it was conceived and commercialized in the early 1980s.
(Image courtesy of Elsevier Publishing).

Who else would you want to author a book about the IGBT (insulated gate bipolar transistor) than its inventor, Dr. B. Jayant Baliga? This invention is widely used around the globe for a broad range of applications.

For his work, Scientific American Magazine named Dr. Baliga one of the Eight Heroes of the Semiconductor Revolution in its 1997 special issue commemorating the solid-state century. Among his many other awards are the National Medal of Technology and Innovation and the IEEE Medal of Honor.

Chapter 1 is an introductory chapter and Chapter 2 describes the evolution of IGBT Structure and Operation. These structures share the common physical principles of a MOSFET controlling current flow in a wide-base bipolar transistor.

Chapter 3, IGBT Structural Design, describes the symmetric and asymmetric IGBT structures and performance. For the symmetric blocking-device structure, a minimum drift region thickness occurs at an optimum doping concentration for the drift region. This produces the best on-state voltage drop and switching energy loss. For the asymmetric blocking device, you can minimize the drift-region thickness by proper choice of not only the drift-region doping concentration, but also the doping and thickness of the buffer layer.

This chapter also reviews the design of an SiC IGBT structure. However, the optimum SiC device structure has a significantly worse trade-off curve between on-state voltage drop and energy loss per switching cycle.

Safe Operating Area Design is the subject of Chapter 4. One of the main reasons for the popularity of the IGBT device for numerous applications is its excellent SOA. The FBSOA of the asymmetric IGBT structure is superior to that of the symmetric IGBT structure. In addition, the asymmetric IGBT structure has a much better trade-off curve between on-state voltage and switching losses. For these reasons, most of the commercial development of IGBT products has focused on the asymmetric device structure (Figure 1).

Chapter 5 covers IGBT Chip Design, Protection, and Fabrication. The usual practice for power semiconductors is to create a new unique process for the fabrication of a proposed device in a research environment. If the proposed device shows promise, usually a new manufacturing line has to be set up. However, the cell structure for the IGBT was carefully and deliberately designed to be remarkably similar to that for the power MOSFET structure. This enabled the manufacturing of IGBTs directly in a production line less than a year after it was conceived. It allowed sidestepping the expensive and time-consuming steps involved with most power device technologies.  

1. Symmetric and Asymmetric IGBTs.

Chapter 6 reviews IGBT Package and Module Design. Discrete devices used in modules have typical current ratings of 1 to 10 A and breakdown voltages of 600 to 1200 V. It is common practice to package the free-wheeling diode with the IGBT so that both devices can be optimized together to cut power losses. A new trend is to eliminate the module’s wire bonds, using a molybdenum plate pressed on to the chip emitter contact to enhance its reliability.

For compact applications, IGBTs are co-packaged with diodes, gate drivers, and protection circuits within a DIP package. For higher-power applications, such as EVs or HEVs, an IPM (Intelligent Power Module) integrates the control board with the IGBTs and diodes.

Gate Drive Circuit Design is covered in Chapter 7. IGBT gate-drive circuits have evolved from a simple gate-drive circuit to a more sophisticated dynamic version. Improved drive methods reduce collector current and voltage overshoots during the IGBT switching events while allowing minimizing the switching power loss. Advanced gate-drive circuits allow reduction of the dI/dt during turnoff under short circuit conditions. Due to the widespread use of IGBTs for motor control, many manufacturers have developed gate driver products. Examples include the Texas Instruments UCC27531, Mitsubishi Electric M81738FP, and Toshiba Electronics TLP700H.

Chapter 8 on IGBT Models reviews the models developed for the simulation of IGBT-based power circuits. Approaches include physics-based models and those derived using an equivalent circuit approach.

Outline of Additional Chapters

9. IGBT Applications: Transportation

A major IGBT application is in transportation systems, including all methods for the movement of people and goods. These transportation systems include:

  • Gasoline-Powered Vehicles
  • Electric and Hybrid-Electric Vehicles
  • EV Charging Stations
  • Electric Transit Bus
  • Electric Trams and Trolleys
  • Subway and Airport Trains
  • Electric Locomotives
  • Diesel-Electric Locomotives
  • High-Speed Electric Trains
  • Marine Propulsion
  • All-Electric Aircraft

10. IGBT Applications: Industrial

IGBT industrial applications are due to their use in driving motors. Availability of the IGBT in the early 1980s enabled development of cost-effective ASDs (Adjustable speed drives) for motors. These drives reduce energy consumption by more than 40%. Two-thirds of the electricity in the world is used to run motors, so IGBT technology has had a huge impact on energy consumption. These applications include:

  • Industrial Motor Drives
  • Adjustable Speed Drives for Motor Control
  • Pulse Width Modulated ASD
  • Factory Automation
  • Robotics
  • Welding
  • Induction Heating
  • Milling and Drilling Machines
  • Metal and Paper Mills
  • Electrostatic Precipitators
  • Textile Mills
  • Mining and Excavation
  • IGBT Optimization for Industrial Applications
  1. IGBT Applications: Lighting

IGBT application diversity for lighting includes LED drivers and dimmable luminaries for museums and auditoriums. Examples include:

  • Light-Emitting Diodes
  • Strobe Flash Light
  • Xenon Short-Arc Lamps
  • Stroboscopic Imaging
  • Dimmable Luminaries
  • Rapid Thermal Annealing
  1. IGBT Applications: Consumer

The IGBT is used extensively for control of power in home appliances. It enables efficient and cost-effective operation for major appliances, such as air conditioners, refrigerators, microwave ovens, dishwashers, and washing machines. IGBTs also control power to obtain versatile performance from small appliances. IGBTs are found in:

  • Large Appliances
  • Small Appliances
  • Televisions
  • IGBT Design Optimization for Consumer Applications
  1. IGBT Applications: Medical

IGBTs play a critical role in the power delivery for major medical diagnostic tools. The IGBTs’ small size and weight in power supplies is crucial to maintaining their reasonable size. Plus, IGBTs have allowed creation of portable defibrillators that save thousands of lives each year. These medical devices include:

  • X-Ray Machines
  • Computed Aided Tomography (CAT) Scanners
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
  • Medical Ultrasonography
  • Defibrillators
  • Medical Synchrotrons
  • Medical Lasers
  • IGBT Design for Medical Applications
  1. IGBT Applications: Defense

Once the IGBT became rapidly commercialized and widely adopted for commercial and industrial applications, U.S. military systems have used the commercially available IGBTs to build high-performance systems.

  • Power Electronic Building Blocks (PEBBs)
  • Electric Warships
  • Aircraft Carriers
  • Army Vehicles
  • Air Force Jets
  • Missile Defense
  1. IGBTs Applications: Renewable Energy

There has been a worldwide surge to invest in energy generation from renewable sources. IGBTs are used in these systems:

  • Hydroelectric Power
  • Photovoltaic Power
  • Inverters
  • Wind Power
  • Tidal Power
  • Geothermal Power
  1. IGBT Applications: Power Transmission

Originally developed for relatively low-power application, the IGBT ratings have grown to 6.5 kV. In addition, multichip modules have taken advantage of the paralleling capability of IGBTs, resulting in current ratings that reach at least 1500 A. These developments are now enabling the replacement of thyristors in HVDC and HVAC systems. The IGBT-based VSC (voltage source control) provides substantial advantages in improving the power quality, balancing reactive power, and correcting for faults and transients. These applications include:

  • HVDC Transmission
  • HVDC Components
  • HVDC Trends
  • AC Power Transmission
  • HVDC Back-To-Back Converter
  • Offshore Power Transmission
  • Premium Quality Power Park
  • IGBT Designs for Power Transmission
  1. IGBT Applications: Financial

The financial sector requires high-quality power delivery to protect its computers from interruptions in operation due to breaks in utility service or even dips in the voltage supplied from the mains. IGBT applications are found in:

  • Power Quality Equipment
  • Power Reliability and Quality
  • Dynamic Voltage Restorers
  • Uninterruptible Power Supplies
  • Premium-Quality Power Park
  • IGBT Designs for UPS
  1. IGBT Applications: Other

The IGBT has had a major impact as an important power-device technology. Even more applications of the IGBT are being continually reported, indicating a bright future for this technology. These IGBT applications include:

  • Smart Homes
  • Printing and Copying Machines
  • Inductive Power Transfer
  • Airport Security X-Ray Scanners
  • Pulse Power
  • Particle Physics
  • Pulsed Lasers
  • Food Sterilization
  • Water Treatment
  • Oil/Petroleum Extraction
  • Petrochemical Plants
  • Gas Liquefaction
  • Superconducting Magnetic Storage
  • Fusion Power
  • Standby Power Generators
  • Roller Coasters
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration
  1. IGBT Social Impact

The IGBT has enabled improvement in the efficiency of power delivery and energy management for a wide variety of products in all sectors of the economy. Social benefits brought about by the availability of IGBTs include:

  • Gasoline savings obtained by IGBT-enabled electronic ignition systems
  • Electricity savings obtained by IGBT-enabled adjustable speed motor drives
  • Electricity savings obtained by IGBT-enabled lighting
  1. Synopsis

IGBT impact has grown steadily so it now includes virtually every sector of the industry and consumer world. Efficiency improvements enabled by the device have saved huge amounts of electrical energy and gasoline, leading to enormous economic and environmental benefits to billions of people in all parts of the world. The penetration of the technology still has further room to grow indicating even larger impact in the future. Present status covers:

  • State-of-the art IGBT Products
  • Wide Band Gap Semiconductor Power Devices

Publication Information

Author: B. J. Baliga   

Release Date: 18 Mar 2015

Imprint: William Andrew

Print Book ISBN : 9781455731435

eBook ISBN : 9781455731534

Pages: 732

The book can be purchased from Elsevier publishing company.

About the Author

Sam Davis

Sam Davis was the editor-in-chief of Power Electronics Technology magazine and website that is now part of Electronic Design. He has 18 years experience in electronic engineering design and management, six years in public relations and 25 years as a trade press editor. He holds a BSEE from Case-Western Reserve University, and did graduate work at the same school and UCLA. Sam was the editor for PCIM, the predecessor to Power Electronics Technology, from 1984 to 2004. His engineering experience includes circuit and system design for Litton Systems, Bunker-Ramo, Rocketdyne, and Clevite Corporation.. Design tasks included analog circuits, display systems, power supplies, underwater ordnance systems, and test systems. He also served as a program manager for a Litton Systems Navy program.

Sam is the author of Computer Data Displays, a book published by Prentice-Hall in the U.S. and Japan in 1969. He is also a recipient of the Jesse Neal Award for trade press editorial excellence, and has one patent for naval ship construction that simplifies electronic system integration.

You can also check out his Power Electronics blog

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