Power

A selection guide to IGBT and rectifier diode modules

1st February 2018
Enaie Azambuja

 

Welcome to the IGBT and rectifier diode modules selection guide. An insulated-gate bipolar transistor (IGBT) is a three-terminal power semiconductor device primarily used as an electronic switch which, as it was developed, came to combine high efficiency and fast switching.

It switches electric power in many applications: variable-frequency drives (VFDs), electric cars, trains, variable speed refrigerators, lamp ballasts, air-conditioners and even stereo systems with switching amplifiers. The IGBT is a semiconductor device with four alternating layers (P-N-P-N) that are controlled by a metal-oxide-semiconductor (MOS) gate structure without regenerative action.

A rectifier diode lets electrical current flow in only one direction and is mainly used for power supply operation. Rectifier diodes can handle higher current flow than regular diodes and are generally used in order to change alternating current into direct current. They are designed as discrete components or as integrated circuits and are usually fabricated from silicon and characterized by a fairly large P-N-junction surface. This results in high capacitance under reverse-bias conditions. In high-voltage supplies, two rectifier diodes or more may be connected in series in order to increase the peak-inverse-voltage (PIV) rating of the combination.

In virtually all industrial control systems, variable frequency drives (VFDs)/ inverters are commonly installed at the front end of motors in order to regulate speed and save energy. Based on differing input voltage requirements, inverters are often categorized as low voltage (110V, 220V, 380V, etc.), medium voltage (690V, 1,140V, 2,300V, etc.), or high voltage (3kV, 3.3kV, 6kV, 6.6kV, 10kV, etc.).

Because VFDs/inverters are critical components in providing power, their operation, performance, and reliability are crucial to maintaining uninterrupted power. This application note focuses on TVS Diodes that can help ensure the reliability and operation of a VFD, even under adverse conditions.

Littelfuse IGBT modules ensure high efficiency and fast switching by combining simple MOSFET gate-drive with the high current and low saturation voltage switching capability of bipolar transistors.


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