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Characterization and design of high-switching speed capability of GaN power devices in a 3-phase inverter

Abstract : The french industrial project MEGaN targets the development of power module based on GaN HEMT transistors. One of the industrial applications is the aeronautics field with a high-constraint on the galvanic isolation (>100 kV/s) and ambient temperature (200°C). The intent of this work is the power module block (3 phases inverter 650 V 30 A). The goal is to obtain a small footprint module, 30 cm2, with necessary functions such as gate driver, gate driver power supply, bulk capacitor and current phase sensor. This goal implies high efficiency as well as respect of the constraint of galvanic isolation with an optimized volume. This dissertation, besides the state of the art of power modules and especially the GaN HEMT ones, addressed a control signal isolation solution based on coreless transformers. Different prototypes based on coreless transformers were characterized and verified over 3000 hours in order to evaluate their robustness. The different studies realized the characterization of the different market available GaN HEMTs in order to mature a circuit simulation model for various converter topologies. In the collaborative work of the project, our contribution did not focus on the gate driver chip design even if experimental evaluation work was made, but a gate driver power supply strategy. The first gate driver isolated power supply design proposition focused on the low-voltage GaN HEMT conversion. The active-clamp Flyback topology allows to have the best trade-off between the GaN transistors and the isolation constraint of the transformer. Different transformer topolgies were experimentally performed and a novel PCB embedded transformer process was proposed with high-temperature capability. A lamination process was proposed for its cost-efficiency and for the reliability of the prototype (1000 H cycling test between - 55; + 200°C), with 88 % intrinsic efficiency. However, the transformer isolation capacitance was drastically reduced compared to the previous prototypes. 2 high-integrated gate driver power supply prototypes were designed with: GaN transistors (2.4 MHz, 2 W, 74 %, 6 cm2), and with a CMOS SOI dedicated chip (1.2 MHz, 2 W, 77 %, 8.5 cm2). In the last chapter, this dissertation presents an easily integrated solution for a phase current sensor based on the magnetoresistance component. The comparison between shunt resistor and magnetoresistance is experimentally performed. Finally, two inverter prototypes are presented, with one multi-level gate driver dedicated for GaN HEMT showing small switching loss performance.
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Rémi Perrin. Characterization and design of high-switching speed capability of GaN power devices in a 3-phase inverter. Electronics. Université de Lyon, 2017. English. ⟨NNT : 2017LYSEI001⟩. ⟨tel-01784868⟩

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