Lee, Fred C.; Wyk, J. D. van (Center for Power Electronics Systems, The Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA 24061 U.S.A.)
Power electronics products, to date, are essentially custom-designed and manufactured using non-standard parts. The products cycle times are long and manufacturing processes are labor-intensive, thus, resulting in poor reliability and high cost. The Center for Power Electronics Systems, established in 1998 as one of the National Science Foundation Engineering Research Centers, is charged in leading the nation in the development of an integrated power electronics system approach via integrated power electronics modules (IPEMs). A brief discussion of the center’s research enterprise and strategic plan in addressing key technological areas and advancements needed to improve the characteristics of power electronics systems, such as increased levels of integration, standardization of parts and improved packaging techniques for enhanced thermal management and electrical performances. The technologies being developed for the realization of integrated systems include planar metallization to allow three-dimensional structural integration of power devices and control functions, integration of power passives, integration of RF and EMI filters, and integration of electrical/thermal design tools.