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Chapter 1
• Definition and concepts of power
electronics and electronics power
• Application
• Power semiconductor switches
• Gate/base drivers
• Losses
• Snubbers
• Links to useful websites

Power Electronics and
Drives (Version 2).
Dr. Zainal Salam, 2002


• DEFINITION: To convert, i.e to process
and control the flow of electric power by
supplying voltage s and currents in a form
that is optimally suited for user loads.
• Basic block diagram shown in Figure 1.




vi , ii


vo , io



Figure 1
Power Electronics and
Drives (Version 2).
Dr. Zainal Salam, 2002


Goal of electronics power
conversion systems

• To convert electrical energy from one
form to another, from the source to load
with highest efficiency, high availability
and high reliability with the lowest cost,
smallest size and weight.
• Static and applications
– involves non-rotating or moving mechanical
– E.g rectifiers, inverters, choppers,

• Drive applications
– intimately contains moving or rotating
components such as motors.
– E.g. DC drives, AC drives, Permanent magnet
motor drives.

Power Electronics and
Drives (Version 2).
Dr. Zainal Salam, 2002


2002 4 . Dr. VTNB (Volt) time + VTNB _ + Vo _ Average output voltage :V o Vo = Vm π Vdc time Power Electronics and Drives (Version 2) www. • TNB sine-wave supply gives zero DC component! • We can use simple half-wave rectifier. Customer need DC voltage for welding purpose. Zainal Salam.tkne. 240V RMS (340V peak).net Conversion concept: example • Supply from TNB: 50Hz. This is a simple PE system.sayedsaad. say. A fixed DC voltage is now obtained.

Power Electronics and Drives (Version 2). 2002 5 . Zainal www.the output DC voltage (after conversion) can be varied. Obviously this needs a complicated electronic system to set the firing current pulses for the SCR.www.sayedsaad. α.tkne. vo ig ia ia α + vs _ + vo _ ωt vs ig Average output voltage : α ωt Vm 1 π [1 + cos α ] Vo = Vm sin (ωt )dωt = ∫ 2π α 2π By controlling the firing Concept-cont’d How if customer wants variable DC voltage? More complex circuit using SCR is required. Dr..

Welding • Energy conservation ( Applications • Power generation and transmission (HVDC) • Transportation (Electric car. Dr. 2002 6 . trains) • Uninterruptable power supplies (UPS) • Process control and factory automation • DC power supplies • Electroplating.cooling • Utility-related application Power Electronics and Drives (Version 2). Zainal Salam. pumps.tkne.www. www.sayedsaad. aircondition) • Heating.

oil) and nuclear power resource (uranium) Current issues related to power electronics: Energy scenario • Energy Scenario. – Energy saving: 15-20% of electricity can be saved by PE applications.g. need to be increased. fans. – Need to reduce dependence on fossil fuel (coal. Zainal Salam. natural gas.sayedsaad. Variable speed compressor airconditioning system saves up to 30% of energy compared to conventional thermostat-controlled system. Depletion of these sources is expected – Effort to tap renewable energy resources such as solar. Power Electronics and Drives (Version 2). – electrical lighting using electronics ballast can boost the efficiency of fluorescent lamp by 20%. pumps). – E. wind. variable speed drives (air conditioned. 2002 7 .www. Dr. fuel-cell www.

www. CO (oil burning). SO2.sayedsaad. – Special effort is needed to reduce pollution in cities by enforcing the use of electric vehicle. Stringent controls can be imposed on central power plants. centralization of power stations to remote nonurban are Environmental issues • Environment issues – Nuclear safety. Zainal www. – Burning of fossil fuel emits gases such as CO2. 2002 8 .tkne. Nuclear plants can remain radioactive for thousands of years. – One way to reduce the problem is to promote renewable energy resources. Power Electronics and Drives (Version 2). Dr. – To mitigate the pollution problem. NOX (coal burning) etc. acid rain and urban pollution from smokes. – Creates global warming (green house effect).

ASIC) – New ideas in control algorithms – Demand for new applications • PE is an interdisciplinary field: – – – – – – – – Digital/analogue electronics Power and energy Microelectronics Control system Computer. VLSI. Zainal Salam.tkne.sayedsaad. simulation and software Solid-state physics and devices Packaging Heat transfer Power Electronics and Drives (Version 2). 2002 9 . PE growth • PE rapid growth due to: – Advances in power (semiconductor) switches – Advances in microelectronics (DSP. microprocessor/ www.

tkne. Zainal Salam. www.www. 2002 10 .net Power Electronics Converters AC to DC: RECTIFIER AC input DC output DC to DC: CHOPPER DC input DC output DC to AC: INVERTER DC input AC output Power Electronics and Drives (Version 2).sayedsaad.

com www.www.tkne. Dr. Zainal Application example: Static converter DC to DC converter AC voltage DIODE RECTIFIER FILTER DC-DC CONVERTER AC LINE VOLTAGE (1Φ or 3 Φ ) LOAD Vcontrol (derived from feedback circuit) Switched-mode power supply DC-DC CONVERSITION + ISOLATION EMI FILTER High Frequency rectifier and filter RECTIFIER AND FILTER DC Unregulated Base/ gate drive PWM Controller Power Electronics and Drives (Version 2).sayedsaad. 2002 DC Regulated Vo Vref error Amp 11 .

www.tkne. www. Zainal Application example: Variable speed drive system Power Source Controller Power Electronics Converter Motor Process/ Load Process Control Computer Power Source Power Electronics Converter Desired temperature Desired humidity System Controller Variable speed drive Motor Air conditioner Indoor temperature and humidity Temperature and humidity Building Cooling Indoor sensors Air-conditioning system Power Electronics and Drives (Version 2). 2002 12 .

sayedsaad. Zainal Salam. Power semiconductor devices (Power switches) • Power switches are the work-horses of PE systems. – Controllable switches: Can be turned on and off by low-power control signals (e.tkne. 2002 13 . Dr. GTO) Power Electronics and Drives (Version 2). – Fully off (blocking) • Can be categorised into three group – Diode : on and off states controlled by power circuit only – Thyristor (SCR) : Latched on by low-power control signal but must be turned off by power www. MOSFET.g. Cannot be turned off by control signal. • PE switches works in two states only: – Fully on (conducting). BJT.

com www. Zainal Salam. Dr.sayedsaad.www. 2002 14 .net Power Diode Id A (Anode) Id + Vd _ Vr Vf Vd K (Cathode) Diode: Symbol v-i characteristics • When diode is forward biased.tkne. Diode should not be operated at reverse voltage greater than Vr Power Electronics and Drives (Version 2). a negligibly small leakage current (uA to mA) flows until the reverse breakdown occurs. it conducts current with a small forward voltage (Vf) across it (0.2-3V) • When reversed (or blocking state).

• The minority carriers require finite time. 2002 15 . trr (reverse recovery time) to recombine with opposite charge and Reverse Recovery IF trr= ( t2 .t0 ) t2 t0 IRM VR VRM • When a diode is switched quickly from forward to reverse bias. Zainal www. increase in voltage rating. • Effects of reverse recovery are increase in switching losses. it continues to conduct due to the minority carriers which remains in the p-n junction.tkne. Dr. i. over-voltage (spikes) in inductive loads Power Electronics and Drives (Version 2).e.

t0) = 0.t1 )/(t1 .3 t0 VR t1 t2 Soft-recovery Sr= ( t2 .com www. Zainal Softness factor.t1 )/(t1 .tkne. Dr.www.8 t1 t0 Power Electronics and Drives (Version 2). Sr Snap-off IF Sr= ( t2 .t0) IF = 0. 2002 t2 VR 16 .sayedsaad.

Zainal Salam. high current application such as switched mode power supplies.www. 2002 17 . Dr.3V) – limited blocking voltage (50-100V) – Used in low www.tkne. Power Electronics and Drives (Version 2).net Types of Power Diodes • Line frequency (general purpose): – on state voltage very low (below 1V) – large trr (about 25us) – very high current (up to 5kA) and voltage (5kV) ratings – Used in line-frequency (50/60Hz) applications such as rectifiers • Fast recovery – very low trr (<1us). – Power levels at several hundred volts and several hundred amps – Normally used in high frequency circuits • Schottky – very low forward voltage drop (typical 0.sayedsaad.

the anode current is LATCHED (continuously flowing). Power Electronics and Drives (Version 2). Ia A (Anode) Ia Ig Ig>0 + Vak _ Ih Ibo Vr G (Gate) Ig=0 Vak Vbo K (Cathode) Thyristor: Symbol v-i characteristics • Thyristors can only be turned on with two conditions: – the device is in forward blocking state (i. 2002 18 .e Vak is positive) – a positive gate current (Ig) is applied at the gate • Once Thyristor (SCR) www. Zainal Salam.tkne.

Power Electronics and Drives (Version 2). • When the peak reverse voltage is exceeded.5-3V. with no gate current present (i. • If the forward breakover voltage (Vbo) is www. It conducts a small leakage current which is almost dependent of the voltage. Dr. the device exhibits a leakage current. 2002 19 . • In the forward biased mode.e. The presence of any gate current will reduce the forward breakover voltage. the SCR “self-triggers” into the conducting state and and the voltage collapses to the normal forward volt-drop. in the untriggered state. avalanche breakdown occurs.sayedsaad. and the large current will flow. Zainal Salam.tkne. the SCR behaves like a Turning on/off mechanism • In reverse -biased mode. but increases with temperature. typically 1.

2002 20 . Dr. Zainal Salam.tkne. – The anode current is “diverted” to another Thyristor Conduction vo iak ia + vak α + vs _ ig + vo _ ωt vs ig α ωt • Thyristor cannot be turned off by applying negative gate current. Power Electronics and Drives (Version 2). It can only be turned off if Ia goes negative (reverse) – This happens when negative portion of the of sine-wave occurs (natural commutation). • Another method of turning off is known as “forced commutation”.

• Light activated – Similar to phase controlled. but triggered by pulse of Types of thyristors • Phase controlled – rectifying line frequency voltage and current for ac and dc motor drives – large voltage (up to 7kV) and current (up to 4kA) capability – low on-state voltage drop (1. – Normally very high power ratings • TRIAC – Dual polarity thyristors Power Electronics and Drives (Version 2).tkne. 2002 21 www. Zainal Salam. Dr. Can be turned-on using “forcecommutation” method.5 to 3V) • Inverter grade – used in inverter and chopper – Quite fast.

Metal oxide silicon field effect transistor ( MOSFET). Gate turn-off thyristors (GTO) • Emerging (new) devices: Gate controlled thyristors (GCT). 2002 22 . • Traditional devices: Bipolar junction transistors (BJT). No “linear region” operation is allowed due to excessive power loss. power transistors do not operate in latched mode. Zainal Salam. • Operated in SATURATION and CUTOFF modes only. Insulated gate bipolar transistors (IGBT).net Controllable switches (power transistors) • Can be turned “ON”and “OFF” by relatively very small control signals.www.sayedsaad. • In www.tkne. Power Electronics and Drives (Version 2). Dr.

Need high base current to obtain reasonable IC .sayedsaad. Zainal www.www.tkne. Switching frequency up to 5kHz. Current: IC<400A. • Not popular in new products. Bipolar Junction Transistor (BJT) C (collector) IC B (base) IC + VCE _ IB IB E (emitter) VCE (sat) BJT: symbol (npn) VCE v-i characteristics • Ratings: Voltage: VCE<1000. Power Electronics and Drives (Version 2). Low on-state voltage: VCE(sat) : 2-3V • Low current gain (β). 2002 23 . Expensive and complex base drive circuit.

β<10 is common. When turned on. conventional current passes from collector to BJT characteristics • To turn on/off the device. It deteriorates as voltage ratings increases.www. Zainal Salam. Power Electronics and Drives (Version 2). • It is normal to use Darlington connection for higher current gain. 2002 24 .tkne. a base drive circuit is connected to the base and emitter terminal. the base current is removed.sayedsaad. • To turn on. www. • To turn-off. • The current gain of a BJT ends to be low when operated in the saturated ON condition. current is injected into the base terminal.

2002 25 BJT Darlington pair C (collector) Driver Transistor IC1 IC Output Transistor IC2 B (base) + VCE _ IB1 IB2 Biasing/ stabilising network E (emitter) I c1 I c 2 + β = I c I B1 = (I c1 + I c 2 ) I B1 = I B1 I B1  Ic2   I B2   I B1 + I c1  = β1 +  ⋅  = β1 + β 2 ⋅    I B 2   I B1   I B1  = β1 + β 2 ⋅ (1 + β1 ) ⇒ β = β1 + β 2 + β1β 2 Power Electronics and Drives (Version 2).com www. Dr.tkne. Zainal Salam.

Dr.www. • Very fast device: > Metal Oxide Silicon Field Effect Transistor (MOSFET) D (drain) ID ID G (gate) + VDS _ + + VGS _ VGS _ S (source) MOSFET: symbol (n-channel) v-i characteristics VDS • Ratings: Voltage VDS<500V. Power Electronics and Drives (Version 2). Zainal Salam.sayedsaad. current IDS< www. For some low power devices (few hundred watts) may go up to MHz range. 2002 26 .tkne.

tkne. • Dominant in high frequency application (>100kHz). Biggest application is in switched-mode power supplies. • Internal (dynamic) resistance between drain and source during on state. RDS(ON) MOSFET characteristics • Turning on and off is very simple. High losses especially for high voltage device due to RDS(ON) . 2002 27 . Only need to provide VGS =+15V to turn on and 0V to turn off. High voltage device are available up to 600V but with limited current. . www. Can be paralleled quite easily for higher current capability.www. limits the power handling capability of MOSFET. Power Electronics and Drives (Version 2). • Basically low voltage device. Gate drive circuit is simple. Zainal Salam.

com www. 2002 28 . Compromises include: – Gate behaviour similar to MOSFET .easy to turn on and off.www. Dr. – Low losses like BJT due to low on-state Collector-Emitter voltage (2-3V). Zainal Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistor (IGBT) C (collector) IC G (gate) + VGE _ IC + VCE _ VGE E (emitter) IGBT: symbol VCE (sat) VCE v-i characteristics • Combination of BJT and MOSFET characteristics.tkne. Power Electronics and Drives (Version 2).sayedsaad.

frequency is limited to several KHz. • “Snubberless” operation is possible. Dr. Constant improvement in voltage and current ratings • Good switching capability (up to 100KHz) for newer devices.2kA currently available. IGBT is used at 20-50KHz. Current. • For very high power devices and applications.: IC<1.2kA device. • Very popular in new products.3kV. practically replacing BJT in most new applications. Zainal IGBT • Ratings: Voltage: VCE<3. Typical application. 2002 29 . Power Electronics and Drives (Version 2).tkne. Most new IGBTs do not require snubbers. Work in under progress for www.5kV/1.

Dr. but can be turned off using gate signal • However turning off is Gate turn-off thyristor (GTO) Ia A (Anode) Ia Ig>0 + Vak _ G (Gate) Ih Ibo Vr Ig=0 Vak Ig K (Cathode) GTO: Symbol v-i characteristics • Behave like normal thyristor. Zainal Salam.tkne. Need very large reverse gate current (normally 1/5 of anode current) Power Electronics and Drives (Version 2). 2002 30 .com www.www.sayedsaad.

• Gate drive design is very GTO www. development in gate-controlled thyristor (GCT) may effectively end the future of GTO Power Electronics and Drives (Version 2). Need very large reverse gate current to turn off. Zainal Salam.sayedsaad. 2002 31 . Often custom-tailored to specific application. >5kA). Highest power ratings switch. Frequency< • Ratings: Voltage: Vak<5kV. High power snubbers are expensive. Dr. The latter has much simpler and cheaper drivers.tkne. • GTO normally requires snubbers. Current: Ia<5kA.www. • In very high power region (>5kV. • Currently getting very stiff competition from high power IGBT.

Functions: – amplifies control signal to a level required to drive power switch – provides electrical isolation between power switch and logic level • Complexity of driver varies markedly among www.sayedsaad. Power Electronics and Drives (Version 2). Dr. Zainal Salam. MOSFET/IGBT drivers are simple but GTO drivers are very complicated and (Base/gate) Driver circuit Control Driver Circuit Circuit Power switch • Interface between control (low power electronics) and (high power) switch. 2002 32 .www.tkne.

sayedsaad. VGS is pulled to VGG. MOSFET is off. • When B1 is www.www. Q1 will be Example: simple MOSFET gate driver From control circuit +VGG R1 Q1 + Rg D G VDC + LM311 S VGS _ _ • Note: MOSFET requires VGS =+15V for turn on and 0V to turn off. Dr. the MOSFET turns on. Q1 conducts. 2002 33 .tkne. • When B1 is high. If VGG is set to +15V. LM311 is a simple amp with open collector output Q1. Power Electronics and Drives (Version 2). VGS is pulled to ground. Zainal Salam.

net Gate drive for thyristors Pulse transformer R1 ig + vak - Pulse source R2 iak • Pulse transformer is used for isolation.tkne. Zainal Salam. • It is not possible to turn-off a thyristor with the above circuit Power Electronics and Drives (Version 2). 2002 34 . Dr.sayedsaad.It is quite common to fire the thyristors with successive pulses to ensure proper turn-on. R1 is to limit the gate current • Normally a pulse with length 10us with amplitude of 50mA is sufficient to turn-on the www.www.

2002 35 Electrical isolation for drivers • Isolation is required to prevent damages on the high power switch to propagate back to low power electronics. For example TLP 250 from www. Zainal Salam.sayedsaad. HP 3150 from Hewlett-Packard uses opto-coupling isolation.tkne. Power Electronics and Drives (Version 2). Dr. • Normally opto-coupler (shown below) or high frequency magnetic materials (as shown in the thyristor case) are used. From control circuit D1 Q1 A1 To driver Opto-coupler isolation • Many standard driver chips have built-in isolation.

gate signals Power Electronics and Drives (Version 2). Onstate Voltage Drive Circuit Comments BJT FET GTO IGBT Early Late 70s Early Mid 80s 60s 80s Mature Mature Mature/ Mature improve 5kV 1kV 500V 5kV Late 80s Rapid improve 3. Dr.3kV 4kA 400A 200A 5kA Switches comparisons (2000) Thy Availabilty State of Tech. Zainal Salam.sayedsaad. 2002 36 .2kA na 5kHz 1MHz 2kHz 100kHz 2V 1-2V I* Rds (on) 2-3V 2-3V Very difficult King in very high power Very simple Best overall perform ance.tkne.www. Voltage ratings Current ratings Switch www. Simple Difficult Very simple Cannot Phasing Good perform out in turn ance in new off using product high freq.

net Application examples • For each of the following www.tkne. – A switch-mode power supply (SMPS) for remote telecommunication equipment is to be developed. – A HVDC transmission system transmitting power of 300 MW from one ac system to another ac system both operating at 50 Hz. The induction motor is to run from standstill up to 200 Hz. 230 kV rms line to line and the DC link voltage operating at 200 kV. The locomotive is rated at 150 kW.www. Dr. The input voltage is obtained from a photovoltaic array that produces a maximum output voltage of 100 V and a minimum current of 200 A. – An inverter for the light-rail train (LRT) locomotive operating from a DC supply of 750 V. choose the best power switches and reason out why. 2002 37 . with power switches frequencies up to 10KHz. The switching frequency should be higher than 100kHz. Power Electronics and Drives (Version 2). Zainal Salam.

– losses in switches affects the system efficiency • If a power switch is not cooled to its specified junction temperature. Zainal Salam. 2002 38 . Power switch losses • It is important to consider losses of power switches: – to ensure that the system operates reliably under prescribed ambient conditions – so that heat removal mechanism ( www. • Main losses occurs in power switches are – forward conduction losses. the full power capability of the switch cannot be realised. Dr. Heat sinks and other heat removal systems are costly and bulky.sayedsaad. heat sink.g. – blocking state losses – switching losses Power Electronics and Drives (Version 2). Derating of the power switch ratings may be necessary. coolant) can be specified.

• But for real switches. e.tkne. Although the forward current ( Ion ) may be large. MOSFET has on state voltage which is characterised by the RDS(ON).g. the losses on the switch is zero. BJT. GCT have forward conduction voltage (on state) between 13V.www. Dr. Zainal Salam. 2002 39 .sayedsaad. Power Electronics and Drives (Version 2).com www. SCR. GTO. Forward conduction losses Ion Ion +Von− +Von− Ideal switch Real switch • Ideal switch has zero voltage drop across it during turn-on (Von).

But for real switch a small amount of leakage current may flow. Hence the turn-off losses are usually neglected. 2002 40 . Ideally no current should flow through the Forward conduction and blocking state losses • Losses is measured by product of volt-drop across the device Von with the current. averaged over the period. Ion. This creates turn-off or blocking state losses • The leakage current during turn-off is normally very small. Dr. • During turn-off.tkne.sayedsaad. Zainal Salam. • Forward conduction losses is the major source of loss at low frequency and DC operation. the switch blocks large www. Power Electronics and Drives (Version 2).

com www. the switching profile is as shown in Switching losses v i v P=vi i Energy time time Ideal switching profile (turn on) Real switching profile (turn-on) • During turn-on and turn off.sayedsaad. Dr. • The switching losses occurs as a result of both the voltage and current changing simultaneously during the switching period. 2002 41 . • In real switch.tkne. Zainal Salam.www. Power Electronics and Drives (Version 2). Voltage and current are switched instantaneously.due to the non-idealities of power switches. ideal switch requires zero transition time.

switching losses increases. This limits the usable range of power switches unless proper heat removal mechanism is employed.tkne. • When frequency increase. 2002 42 . Zainal Switching losses • The product of device voltage and current gives instantaneous power dissipated in the device. • The heat energy that developed over the switching period is the integration (summation) of instantaneous power over time as shown by the shaded area under the power curve.www. • The average power loss is the sum of the turn-on and turn off energies multiplied by the switching www.sayedsaad. Power Electronics and Drives (Version 2). Dr.

0 0. Zainal Salam. Dr. • Different devices have different SOA.1 Safe Operating Area (SOA) • Convenient method to summarise maximum values of current and voltage to which the power switch should be www. Example of SOA for a typical BJT is shown below.1 0.0 10 100 200 300 VCE (Volt) Power Electronics and Drives (Version 2).tkne.www. 2002 43 . 10us 100us IC (Amp) 300 200 100ms 100 10ms 1ms 10 1.sayedsaad.

com www.sayedsaad. wire loops creates stray inductance. 2002 44 . Zainal Salam. Dr.www. • Using KVL. di vin = vs + vce = Ls + vce dt di vce = vin − Ls dt since di dt is negative (turning off) di vce = vin + Ls dt Power Electronics and Drives (Version 2) Snubbers +VL− Vce Ls i + Vce − + Vin − Vce rated time Simple switch at turn off • PCB construction. Ls.

Dr.tkne. • Switches and diodes requires snubbers. 2002 45 . In effect it dampens the high voltage spike to a safe value.www. An example of a snubber is an RCD circuit shown below. new generation of www. the voltage across the switch is bigger than the supply (for a short moment).sayedsaad. Power Electronics and Drives (Version 2). However. a snubber is put across the Snubbers • From previous equation. • The spike may exceed the switch rated blocking voltage and causes damage due to overvoltage. • To prevent such occurrence. MOSFET and GCT do not require it. • Snubber circuit “smoothened” the transition and make the switch voltage rise more “slowly”. Zainal Salam.

– Stress reduction: to shape the device switching waveform such that the voltage and current associated with the device are not high simultaneously. 2002 46 .com RCD Snubbers Vce Ls + Vce − • In general. Dr. Power Electronics and Drives (Version 2).www. Zainal Salam.sayedsaad. snubbers are used for: Vce rated time – turn-on: to minimise large overcurrents through the device at turn-on – turn-off: to minimise large overvoltages across the device during turn-off.

2002 47 . Zainal Salam. Very small power required from control source to trigger the switch In general voltage driven devices ( www. Requires time to turn on and off. Power Electronics and Drives (Version 2).net Ideal vs.sayedsaad. 2-3V for IGBT) Switch from on to off or vice versa instantaneously when triggered Requires finite time to reach maximum voltage and current.www.g. Dr. GTO requires substantial amount of current to turn off.tkne. Practical power switch Ideal switch Practical switch Block arbitrarily large forward and reverse voltage with zero current flow when off Finite blocking voltage with small current flow during turn-off Conduct arbitrarily large currents with zero voltage drop when on Finite current flow and appreciable voltage drop during turn-on (e. MOSFET) requires small power for triggering.

com) ( (irf.tkne. 2002 48 .com) • Drivers – IGBT ( Power Electronics and Drives (Version 2).com) GTO ( GCT ( • Complete power electronics solutions – ( IGBT ( • Power switches – – – – – – power diodes ( (semikron. MOSFETS (irf. Zainal Salam. thyristors ( ( (semikron.Related websites for further readings/info/data sheet. (hp.