Applications and Advantages of Cryogenic Power Electronics

Applications and Advantages of Cryogenic Power Electronics

Manufacturing Technology Insights | Thursday, January 13, 2022

Cryogenic power electronics are being developed to build more efficient power conditioning systems. Cryogenic power electronics have several advantages, including faster operation, lower on-state voltage and resistance, more efficiency, and lower costs.

Fremont, CA: The operation and behavior of components at very low or ultra-low temperatures are referred to as cryogenics. Cryogenic temperatures are required for specific applications, such as electronic systems on spacecraft or superconducting electronics. In these applications, power electronics devices are utilized to give power to electric machines or gadgets. Traditionally, power electronics components have been kept at room temperature and encased in thermal insulation (300 K). Additional needs for thermal insulation and temperature management add complexity, volume, weight, and cost. As a result, power electronic systems that can operate at cryogenic temperatures will be desirable.

Applications of Cryogenic power electronics

Power electronics that operate at low temperatures have a variety of uses on Earth and in space. Military all-electric vehicles, magnetic levitation transportation systems, superconducting magnetic energy storage systems, cryogenic instrumentation, and medical diagnostics are among the technologies being developed. Cryogenic power conversion has a lot of promise for future military applications, including aircraft and ship propulsion engines and power generators. Wind energy generation, aircraft dispersed propulsion, and a range of defense applications all benefit from cryogenic power electronic systems and superconducting generators.

Advantages of Cryogenic power electronics

When power semiconductor components are operated at lower temperatures, such as cryogenic temperatures, they run faster and have a lower on-state voltage than when they are operated at ambient temperature. Because of their superior electrical, electronic, and thermal properties at temperatures as low as liquid nitrogen, semiconductor materials run at a quicker pace due to higher carrier stability and saturation velocity. At low temperatures, the thermal conductivity of components and substrate materials improves considerably, resulting in easier thermal control and higher efficiency. Cryogenic temperatures, in addition to reducing conduction losses, also reduce losses caused by power device switching, resulting in improved power transfer performance.

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