STTR Phase I: Integrated Magneto-Optic Current Sensor for Power Electronics Modules

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 0319432
Agency Tracking Number: 0319432
Amount: $100,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Awards Year: 2003
Solicitation Year: N/A
Solicitation Topic Code: N/A
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
9058 Euclid Avenue, Manassas, VA, 20111
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Paul Duncan
 () -
Business Contact
Phone: () -
Research Institution
 Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
 460 Turner Street, Suite 306
Blacksburg, VA, 24060
 Nonprofit college or university
This Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase I project proposes to develop magneto-optical current and temperature sensors capable of direct integration into power electronic modules, with the design goal of improving reliability and survivability of the power conversion and control circuitry. Existing power electronics designs generally use one of three components to sense current in power devices or in the control subsystem: Hall effect transducers, resistive shunts, and current transformers. Each of these components and their associated interface circuitry, while functional, are becoming obsolete as switching frequencies of power conditioning equipment surpass 100 kHz (10e5 Hz), and as the power contained in these circuits exceeds 1 MW (10e6 watt). Additionally, miniaturization of these components has become increasingly difficult and has not kept the same pace as with the miniaturization of power electronic modules. The Phase I program will develop a hybrid electro-optic power electronics module (HE-OPEM) capable of measuring local current and temperature on the module using optical methodologies. When coupled with on-board intelligence, expensive and high-power density power electronic modules will be able to sense potential fault conditions in nanoseconds, resulting in their ability to self-regulate their operation and protect themselves from catastrophic failure. This is not possible with today's technology. The technology developed under this program could be used in all high-power, power electronic semiconductors to self-monitor self-regulate their operation, leading to systems that have higher reliability and lower corrective maintenance costs.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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