Power Electronics Modeling System Targets Electric Vehicles

The Keysight  PD1000A Power Device Measurement System for Advanced Modeling and the W8598BP/BT Power Electronics Model Generator Software solution address the growing needs of the hybrid-electric and electric vehicle (HEV/EV) and solar industries that power electronics designers are looking to make their modules smaller, cooler and more efficient.


A natural design choice for vehicle and solar designers is to leverage some of the newer but more expensive wide-bandgap semiconductor technologies, such as Silicon-Carbide (SiC) and Gallium-Nitride (GaN). Wide-bandgap (WBG) semiconductor technology enables power-converter designs with faster switching speeds due to smaller intrinsic device capacitances. With higher switching speeds, the supporting circuitry can be made much smaller, resulting in a smaller module footprint that is also lighter and cooler. These benefits are highly desirable in both vehicle and solar inverter designs. However, the fast edge rates and higher switching speeds lead to new concerns in reliability, safety, and electromagnetic emissions.

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Application development in the mmWave frequencies is growing. Broadband testing over hundreds of GHz of bandwidth is subject to repeatability/accuracy deficits, and engineers demand solutions to help overcome challenges and simplify mmWave testing.


Unfortunately, traditional time-domain simulation tools using simple lumped element models have proven insufficient when working with WBG devices. While the switching frequencies may only be in the hundreds-of-kHz or low MHz, the edge transition speeds can be as low as 250 ps, generating harmonic content into the GHz range. With edge rates greater than 5 times faster than traditional silicon devices, designers are faced with a new set of problems. Transient-induced electromagnetic (EM) noise can lead to EMI non-compliance and unexpected inrush currents can lead to reliability problems, both resulting in extra design cycles and/or long-term quality issues.


Keysight partnered with industry leaders in the HEV/EV power-conversion market to help them transition smoothly towards the use of wide-bandgap devices in their designs. The outcome is the Keysight state-of-the-art modeling suite of power electronics simulation tools that allow wide-bandgap device designers to easily create models never possible.

The test suite, which consists of DC I-V and capacitance curve tracing, S-parameter, and double-pulse test hardware, takes measurements from actual wide-bandgap devices and uses advanced modeling software to build sophisticated wide-bandgap device models exclusive to Keysight. These models can then be used in Keysight's Advanced Design System (ADS) software to simulate and analyze the effects of the high frequency components on the reliability and EMI performance of the design.  With the critical insights gained from the simulations, designs are made robust in the first prototype, thus saving unnecessary design cycles, time and money.


Features and highlights:

  • Easily create simulation models you can trust for any wide-bandgap semiconductor device with real measurements, right from your lab bench
  • PD1000A control software provides simple access to advanced measurement features to gather modeling parameters from three systems: curve-tracer, S-parameter, and double-pulse tester
  • Curve-tracer system measures I-V and C-V characteristics
  • S-Parameter system measures on- and off-state S-parameters
  • Double-Pulse Tester measures the on / off and extended I-V characteristics (coming late-2018)
  • W8598BP/BT Power Electronics Model Generator software leverages these measurements to create the world's most advanced power device models
  • Resultant models are used in Keysight's ADS simulation platform, combining transient, harmonic balance, 2.5D EM simulation (Momentum) and full 3D finite element analysis (EMPro). 

For greater insights, checkout the PD1000A and W8598BP/BT datasheets.

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