Power Electronics: A New Landscape and its Impact on Research and Applications

Seminar | February 21 | 3-4 p.m. | Soda Hall, HP Auditorium (306 Soda)

 Alex Hanson, Ph.D. Candidate, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

 Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences (EECS)

Many of humanity's most pressing needs and exciting advances are critically dependent on the effective use of energy, including in autonomous robots, smart grids, electrified transportation, server-powered artificial intelligence, renewable energy, and a host of other examples. Such applications are often space-, cost-, or efficiency-limited by the power converters at their heart.

These power conversion challenges are converging with new technology opportunities. Efficient wide-bandgap power semiconductors, along with rapid advances in digital controllers, have created great opportunities in a new design landscape for power conversion. This change has also shifted the burden of performance to magnetic components, which now often dominate the size and loss of power converters. With these observations, we will examine some recent and future work in the following areas of power electronics:

● Relieving the magnetic component bottleneck through improved materials and structures;
● Developing high-performance converter architectures that leverage the new semiconductor landscape;
● Advancing impactful applications which critically depend on power converter performance.

Advances such as these will continue to play an important role in enabling the technologies of the future, with implications across diverse fields such as robotics, transportation, IoT, energy harvesting, aerospace, servers, energy storage, etc.


Bio: Alex J. Hanson received the B.E. degree in electrical engineering (with highest hons.) from Dartmouth College in 2014 and the S.M degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2016, where he is currently completing the Ph.D. degree. His research interests include component- and system-level power electronics with emphasis on high-frequency magnetics and circuits. He is also interested in leveraging power and energy in diverse applications like medicine, aerospace, etc.

 CA, jeanrichter@berkeley.edu, 510-643-8208