PhD in “Gate Drivers for Multi-Level Topologies employing Si, GaN or SiC S

  • Cork

SOD-8 PhD in “Gate Drivers for Multi-Level Topologies employing Si, GaN or SiC Switches”

Contract: Full Time/Fixed Term

MCCI is Ireland’s national Microelectronics Circuits Research Centre. MCCI has a team of over 90 researchers and engineers hosted across Tyndall National Institute (www.tyndall.ie), UL, SETU Carlow and UCD, collaborating on more than 50 research projects. Funded by Enterprise Ireland and the IDA, its focus is to generate innovative IC technologies. As part of its core-funded research under the Integrated Power Systems Research theme, MCCI offers this prestigious PhD studentship opportunity at its Tyndall (Cork) based office.

Summary of the Project

Huge growth in power electronics’ market areas such as automotive EV and renewable energy integration is driving the imperative for higher power converter densities, higher voltages and higher switching frequencies. Battery cell stacks and DC-Link voltages in automotive are trending towards 800 V and to greater than 1500 V for PV string inverters. Concurrently, there are significant developments in power switch technologies across silicon DMOS, gallium nitride (GaN HEMT) and silicon carbide (SiC). This project is focused on the power switch gate drivers for the switches in distributed power electronic switching cells – laterally by power level (consider traction drive per wheel or grid-tie inverter per PV unit array) and vertically by switching cell voltage level, considering stacked switches or multi-level converters. These gate drivers will be highly integrated with their switches and will have new features to maximise switch performance and protection.

The ideal candidate will have the opportunity to perform cutting-edge research on the development of gate driver integrated circuit solutions for multi-level power topologies. The research will focus on the design and integration of a number of innovative intelligent gate driver features to enhance, switching speed, efficiency, EMI and overall performance. The candidate may explore new techniques for achieving power and signal magnetic galvanic isolation between the switch driver signal and secondary side switch or bridge driver to achieve highest density goals. An efficient and integrated powering system for the gate driver output stage will be an important aspect of the research. The research is anticipated to consider the addition of new switch control and protection features for switch stacks in multi-level architectures, employing Silicon, GaN or SiC switches. The researcher will design, tape out and characterise one or two integrated circuits to prove their research during the course of their PhD.

Whereas the research area is primarily about advanced gate driver IC design, the research will necessarily involve deep investigations into a number of related disciplines such as advanced packaging technologies for the heterogeneous integration between the CMOS gate driver circuit and its switch. Miniaturisation of the gate driver transformer by substrate embedding or the use of metallic thin film materials may be explored. A resonant bias converter may be used for the power transfer and resonant gate driver energy recovery techniques may be researched.

The candidate will be based amongst MCCI’s team of advanced mixed signal researchers and will have the opportunity to collaborate with other Tyndall research teams, such as its Magnetics-on-Silicon group. MCCI also has many on-going internal formal and informal training opportunities in the various aspects of CMOS design.

Key Responsibilities

  • Conduct innovative research in gate driver IC development for Si or GaN based multi-level, power switching converters.
  • Perform theoretical and experimental analyses of Silicon and GaN switch based power converters to determine the ideal gate driver requirements.
  • Perform electrical modelling of the various possible integrated electronic packaging systems, such as power systems in-package (PwrSiP) employing integrated gate driver transformer.
  • Design, layout, validate and tape-out innovative gate driver IC circuits on a CMOS technology such as 180 nm SOI to prove the contribution of the research.
  • Characterise Prototype IC samples and experimentally evaluate in AC power electronic systems.
  • Engage in the dissemination of the results of the research, as directed by and with the support of supervisors – such as by tier-1 journal publications and presenting at top international conferences.
  • Contribute occasionally to collaborative research projects within the group, where there will be benefit to the candidate’s PhD.
  • Participate in design reviews with other researchers in the MCCI group, for the purpose of benefitting the candidate’s PhD and overall expertise.
  • Participate in education and public engagement activities, in support of the PhD.
  • Ensure all activities are compliant with the MCCI Processes and Tyndall Quality Management systems and required Health & Safety standards.

Essential Criteria

  • The ideal applicant will have a 1st Class Honours Degree or an MSc in Electronic Engineering, Applied Physics or a related discipline.
  • Evidence of a strong desire to innovate and pursue advanced research.
  • Strong fundamental knowledge in analog circuit design or power electronics will be advantageous, but not essential.

Informal enquiries may be made, in-confidence, to seamus.odriscoll@mcci.ie

An annual student stipend of €18,500 applies for the successful candidate for this position. Yearly University Academic Fees will be paid by MCCI.

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To apply for this job email your details to nicola.cooney@mcci.ie