CHPPE wins highest IEEE paper award for power electronics research

Posted: September 2, 2021
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Before engineers can enable the advancement of future wind farms, electric vehicles, data centers, and even space crafts, they must first address the dreaded issue of short circuit power failures.

To solve this issue, The Ohio State University’s Center for High Performance Power Electronics (CHPPE) just won top honors for new research dramatically reducing the time it takes to detect and stop short-circuiting before it even occurs.

The CHPPE research paper titled “A Reliable Ultrafast Short-Circuit Protection Method for E-Mode GaN HEMT” won the IEEE Transaction on Power Electronics’ First Place Award, the top paper award in the power electronics research area.


Jin Wang, professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and project lead, said future advancements in Emerging Silicon Carbide and Gallian Nitride based power devices are poised to greatly improve the energy efficiency of many applications.

“How to properly protect these devices against different types of faults, especially the severe short circuit fault, is a key question that needs to be addressed before these devices are widely implemented in the field,” he said.

Wang’s team includes graduate students Xintong Lyu, He Li, Yousef Abdullah, Ke Wang, Boxue Hu, Zhi Yang, Jiawei Liu, as well as Liming Liu and Sandeep Bala from ABB Corporate Research.

Wang said some of the students have since graduated or are interning at companies such as Dialog Semiconductor and Tesla. Others are returning to complete their graduate degrees in the fall.

The new short circuit prevention research paper explains a unique three-step short-circuit protection method proposed for the 650-V enhancement-mode (E-mode) gallium nitride high-electron-mobility transistor (GaN HEMT).

“This method can quickly detect the short-circuit event, reduce gate voltage to enhance the device short-circuit capability, and turn off the device under fault after confirmation,” the abstract explains.

It also cuts down short-circuit fault detection down to several tens of nanoseconds, to protect devices from fatal failure under high dc bus voltage without faulty triggering.


Ongoing advancements at CHPEE brought on a recent visit from Ohio State leadership to learn more. Executive Vice President for Research Grace Wang, Interim Research VP Peter Mohler, Associate Vice President for Research Randy Moses, Office of Secure Research Director Jim Giuliani, and ECE Interim Chair Andrea Serrani toured multiple CHPPE research and teaching labs in Caldwell and Dreese Labs. The tour was led by Wang and ECE faculty Hongping Zhao, Julia Zhang, and Mahesh Illindala. 

CHPPE is a world-class power electronics laboratory located at Ohio State, specifically designed to exploit the high temperature, high-frequency operation, and efficiency advantages of silicon carbide (SiC)-based power electronics. It was established through a $3 million Ohio Third Frontier grant to host a new generation of technologies and leaders in power electronics and systems.

Wang’s student also won the Best Presentation Award at APEC2021 based on the paper titled “T-Type Modular Dc Circuit Breaker (T-Breaker) for Future Dc Networks.”

Wang said congratulations go to Yue Zhang, who presented the work detailing the lab’s T-Breaker concept for future dc networks, sponsored by ARPA-E.

“This is a paradigm shift from traditional solid-state circuit breakers (SSCBs) as the proposed T-Type Breaker not only protects against faults but also can eventually function as an energy router with unparalleled ancillary functions for dc grids,” the abstract states.

Wang said the CHPPE team has already extended this concept to form dc energy routers in future microgrids on the moon with funding support from NASA’s Lunar Surface Technology Research program.

Since 2010, students from Wang’s group have won 12 Best Presentation Awards at the IEEE Applied Power Electronics Conference (APEC), two First Place Awards at the IEEE Energy Conversion Congress and Expo Student Demonstration Competition, and three best paper awards from other leading conferences. In 2018, the undergraduate student team won the Best Presentation Award at the final competition of IEEE Future Energy Challenge.

By Ryan Horns, ECE Communications | | @OhioStateECE