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Unsymmetrical Gate Voltage Drive for High

Power 1200V IGBT4 Modules Based on

Coreless Transformer Technology Driver
Piotr Luniewski*, Uwe Jansen†
* Infineon Technologies AG/Application Engineering, Warstein, Germany, e-mail:

Infineon Technologies AG/Application Engineering, Warstein, Germany, e-mail:

Abstract—The performance of the new IGBT4 chip selection as discussed in [4]. Operating with increased
technology in PrimePACK™ high power module housing junction temperature up to 150°C offers several
is presented here together with the Coreless Transformer possibilities for inverter optimisation:
technology driver IC for the first time in this paper. These • higher inverter output power with the same
modules usually are driven using symmetrical gate drive module housing, current rating and same
voltage of +/-15V. The driver presented here uses heatsink as in [1], [2], [3], [5]
unsymmetrical gate drive voltage of –7V and +15V. This
alternate approach results in different dynamic module • same inverter output power with same module
behaviour compared to classical. Thus, this paper housing, current rating but with smaller or less
discusses differences in both concepts and brings a expensive heatsink can be achieved which
solution which allows to use the unsymmetrical concept as practically means reduced volume or applying
well as symmetrical. less efficient material as in [1], [2], [3]
• decreased system volume by generally
Keywords—IGBT, Power semiconductor device, High improved heat dissipation as in [4]
voltage IC’s, Thermal design.
• improved system lifetime as prolonged module
lifetime. In this case operating with reduced
I. INTRODUCTION junction temperature Tvj op<150°C as in
reference [3, Fig. 1] and [4] is mandatory
Modern converters in a power range from 1 kW up to
3 MW and connected to the 380 – 460 VAC power net Power inverter performances in general are governed by
nowadays, are mostly equipped with 1200V IGBT power part features, in this case IGBT module, heatsink
modules. Although topology and voltage class are the and the IGBT driver. Based on this, a conclusion can be
same, requirements on chip performance vary derived: an inverter property really relies on IGBT
significantly within the large power range. Proper module and the IGBT driver. Development of IGBT
selection of the IGBT and diode chip technology must module housing concept since many years has been
support the efficiency goal. Hence, in the recent years pursued in parallel to progressive IGBT and diode
the great improvement in application oriented silicon silicon evolution. As presented in [5], [6] the IGBT high
took place. Thus, keeping ‘Energy Efficiency’ target in power module called PrimePACK™ represents a novel
focus, Infineon has recently introduced a new Trench- high power housing concept equipped with newest
/Fieldstop IGBT4 generation. Comparing to third 1200V IGBT4 generation. Thus, except increased
generation the semiconductor family comes as product robustness this module is able to operate with
basically dedicated for three inverter power levels: low Tvjop=150°C without decrease in power cycling
(T4), medium (E4) and high power (P4) as in reference capabilities as pointed out in [3].
[1] and [2]. Further improvements on saturation voltage
reduction and switching speed, mean finding a better B. Driver Selection and Extended Requirements
trade–off between steady and dynamic losses in the Every IGBT module needs to be controlled by a
final system design, are successfully implemented. dedicated IGBT driver which has to ensure the proper
However, especially in high power applications usually and safe module operation during the entire converter
consisting of high power modules the low dynamic life time. There are many approaches in driving IGBT
losses are not the main target. Mainly, due to modules but basically their requirements are split up
electromagnetic interference, EMI, the appropriate accordingly to the converter power. For IGBT modules
controllability and certain softness during module operated with a maximum junction temperature of
switching is required and seen as main development 125°C, regardless of rated current, the driver selection
target and described in reference [3]. can be done quite easy. The appropriate selection
becomes challenging when IGBT4 is intended to be
A. High Temperature IGBT Module Operation used. The increased module operation junction
Elevated IGBT module operation junction temperature may result in increased ambient
temperature, Tvjop, up to 150°C, with the IGBT4 temperature thus, for drivers placed close to the module,
benefits additionally in the system or gives more a certain overheating risk or at least life time limitation
freedom to engineers during module or heatsink exists. Drivers which use optocouplers as a method for


c 2008 IEEE
electric isolation suffer from severe lifetime limitations The 2ED250E12-F driver has the negative voltage
at ambient operating temperatures close to or exciding reduced from -15V to -7V thus, differences on dynamic
85°C. Their practical use in low and medium power module performances comparing to symmetrical control
applications is practically excluded. Thanks to Coreless should be observed [8], [16]. Due to fixed 2ED250E12-
Transformer technology the problem for small as well F position to the module effects on changed gate-emitter
as medium power IGBTs modules is solved. The inductance can be neglected [4]. An assumption that
2ED020I12-F driver circuit (IC) is mainly dedicated for modification on the gate resistor value should result in
small power IGBTs in half bridge configuration where similar dynamic module behaviour to symmetrical
only the high side switch has the basic isolation and the control in this case is justified and practically proven in
functionality was discussed in [7], [8]. For applications following chapters. All investigations and
where every IGBT needs functional isolation to the low measurements presented here are done with a
side control signals and additional security functions the FF900R12IP4 PrimePACK™ module but correctness of
1ED020I12-F IGBT driver IC comes as best match [9]. the approach has been proven in 1200V PrimePACK™
Drivers dedicated for high power modules like with high power (P4) as well as with medium power
PrimePACK™ have similar functions as drivers for (E4) IGBT versions.
medium power modules but the drive power and output
current are significantly higher. Hence, an approach A. Turn-off Behaviour and New Gate Resistor Value
utilizing powerful PCB driver [10] with dedicated The IGBT as voltage controlled power switch
adapter boards is more appropriate as presented in [11], changes its dynamic behaviour by changing the gate-
[12]. Such a universal driver system can be used for emitter voltage in level and shape [14]. Every module
controlling one IGBT module in 1200V or 1700V class which consists of many IGBT dies besides of external
and also several modules in parallel configuration with gate resistor, RGext, where the RGext represents RGon and
small modifications [4]. RGoff, has also specified the internal resistance, RGint, as
In a converter where modularity in parallel operation can be seen in reference [13]. When voltage on the gate
as discussed in [4] is not needed the driving system can and emitter of an IGBT module changes from negative
be optimised resulting in reduction of cost and volume. to a positive and returns the power device is forced to
The PCB driver called 2ED250E12-F, shown in Fig. 1, switch its collector current with controlled speed.
employing 1ED020I12-F and dedicated especially to Therefore, IGBT transistor module dynamic behaviour
PrimePACK™ family in 1200V class is presented in will be different when the driver’s negative voltage
this paper. Thanks to the Coreless Transformer level changes while keeping the same gate resistances.
technology and protection functions implemented in the The influences of the gate resistor value, RGoff, on
design the 2ED250E12-F connected to PrimePACK™ switching energy and switching speed for turning-off is
module makes the building block plug and play solution displayed in Figure 2 separately.
in half-bridge configuration.

Fig. 1. High Power building block consisting of 2ED250E12-F driver Fig. 2. Eoff losses of an IGBT module and dVce/dt slope
and FF1400R12IP4 IGBT module. versus gate resistor value during switching off where:
VDC=600V, IC=900A, Tvj=150°C, Ls=42nH.
II. THE DIFFERENCES IN DYNAMIC BEHAVIOUR The positive slope of a collector-emitter voltage during
Characterisation measurements for IGBT modules commutation decreases with increased resistor value
are usually done with a driver which provides and energy losses increase as consequence in both drive
symmetrical and bipolar +/-15V and has sufficient concepts. Increased losses elevate the module operation
current capability [15]. This voltage is applied to the junction temperature when module cooling conditions
gate – emitter of an IGBT module through external gate are the same as before and finally influence the lifetime.
resistor. Dynamic parameters like switching energies Hence, keeping the same module dynamic parameters
and delay times in module datasheets [13] are given for when driver with unsymmetrical gate voltage is used
a certain value of RGon and RGoff resistors, as well as seems to be appropriate and reduced value of the gate
parameters of the external power circuit like stray resistor is required.
inductances being precisely specified. As can be seen in Fig. 2, decreasing the gate resistor
value from 3Ω to approximately 2Ω increases the

2008 13th International Power Electronics and Motion Control Conference (EPE-PEMC 2008) 89
dVCE/dt slope and decreases Eoff losses to values as to formula (4) the turn-off losses are very close to
obtained from qualification measurement. Selection of qualification measurement.
the corrected gate resistor value, RGnew, in general
should allow keeping the same gate discharge current,
IGoff, during Miller plateau when the IGBT switches off.
By the assumption given in formula (2) where IGoffR is
the gate discharge current with reduced negative gate
voltage, IGoff(-15V) is the gate discharge current with
symmetrical driver the discharge gate current value
basically can be adjusted to every negative gate voltage

I GoffR = I Goff ( −15V ) (1)

Based on above assumption the formula (2) can be

derived where RGnew is the correct gate resistor value,
RGoff is the gate resistor value given in module
datasheet, VM is the Miller plateau voltage, VNR is the
reduced negative gate driver voltage and VN is the Fig. 3. Waveforms of the collector emitter voltage (200V/div), gate
negative symmetrical gate voltage driver and typically emitter (5V/div) voltage, collector (200A/div) and gate current
has -15V value. (2A/div) where: VDC=600V, IC=900A, Tvj=25°C, Ls=42nH, and:
a) symmetrical gate voltage, RGoff=1.6Ω,
b) unsymmetrical gate voltage, RGoff=0.75Ω
= (2)
RG int + RGnew RG int + RGoff
Finally, the external gate resistor value for
unsymmetrical gate voltage driving is given by formula

RGnew = ⋅ ( RGoff + RG int ) − RG int (3)
VM − V N
As practical example the new gate resistor value for the
FF900R12IP4 high power IGBT module driven by the
2ED250E12-F driver will be calculated in formula (4)

9.8 + 7
RGnew = ⋅ (1.6 + 1.2) − 1.2 ≈ 0,7Ω (4)
9.8 + 15
where the VM=9.8V for 900A and TJ=25°C taken form
the module datasheet – reference [13], VNR=-7V, VN=- Fig. 4. Turn-off losses of an IGBT module versus switched collector
15V, RGoff=1.6Ω and RGint=1.2Ω. current value during switching-off for symmetrical
Suitable waveforms showing an IGBT module and unsymmetrical driver concept where:
dynamic behavior for both driver concepts with VDC=600V, Tvj=25°C, Ls=42nH.
matched gate resistors under the same operating
conditions are depicted in Fig. 3. The gate current B. Turn-on Behaviour
during Miller plateau reaches nearly the same level Reduction of the negative IGBT driver voltage
confirming correctness of the assumption given in influences switching energies, Eon, and the positive
formula (1). For practical reasons the calculated gate collector current slope, dIC/dt, during module turn-on as
resistor value in formula (4) for the unsymmetrical drive well. Fig. 5 shows the impact on module turn-on
concept has been increased to 0.75Ω. performances between the two drive concepts discussed
One impact of the negative driver voltage supply is a in this paper. The dIC/dt, during commutation decreases
change of energy losses as function of collector current. with increased resistor value and switching losses
This dependency is shown in Figure 4. The energy increase as a consequence in both drive concepts.
increase with 1.6Ω external gate resistor value between Considering an example RGon resistor value of 3Ω with
symmetrical and unsymmetrical drive concept measured symmetrical +/-15V gate driver voltage the dIC/dt
at Ic=900A is 7%. The small Eoff losses dependency in reaches approximately 4,3kA/μs and Eon=175mJ. The
this case proves that IGBT4 have similar turn-off dIC/dt slope decreases by 12,7% to 3,75kA/μs and Eon
behavior to the IGBT3 in term of dIC/dt limitation by consequently increases by 25,7% and reaches 220mJ
applying higher gate resistor value. This phenomenon when the 2ED250E12-F gate driver is used in the same
has been widely described in reference [14]. DC-link setup.
After the gate resistor value for driver with
unsymmetrical gate driver has been reduced according

90 2008 13th International Power Electronics and Motion Control Conference (EPE-PEMC 2008)
Fig. 5. Turn-on losses of an IGBT module and dIc/dt slope
versus gate resistor value where: Fig. 6. Turn-on losses of an IGBT module versus switched collector
VDC=600V, IC=900A, Tvj=150°C, Ls=42nH. current for symmetrical and unsymmetrical driver concept where:
VDC=600V, Tvj=25°C, Ls=42nH.
Differences in losses are also a function of the gate
resistor value and are larger when the module is driven
with the smaller value. By analogy to turn-off behavior,
reduced gate resistor value increases the dIC/dt slope
and decreases Eon losses to values as obtained during
qualification measurement. Nevertheless, due to the
gate inductance effects on turn-on behavior partly
discussed in reference [4] the corrected gate resistor
value for unsymmetrical driver can not be calculated
using formula (3) in every case. For demonstration
purposes the RGon value in this paper has been chosen
using the same criteria as for turning-off. Main target of
results presented here is to show that module operation
condition can be shifted again into datasheet values
when driven with unsymmetrical drive concept.
Figure 6 shows energy losses versus switched
collector current when the two driver concepts are
applied. As can be noticed at nominal collector current
the driver concept with reduced negative voltage
increases energy losses by 82% compared to Fig. 7. Turn-on losses of an IGBT module versus stray inductance,
Ls, in commutation loop for symmetrical and unsymmetrical driver
qualification measurement where the gate resistor value concept where: VDC=600V, IC=900A, Tvj=25°C.
is 1.6Ω as in datasheet. The energy increase during
switching-on is much higher comparing to 7% during
switching-off. After the value of the gate resistor has
been corrected according to formula (3) the energy
losses up to nominal module current are the same as
during qualification. In the range between nominal
current and two times nominal current Eon is higher
compared to symmetrical gate voltage.
A similar situation shows Figure 7 where Eon is
measured as function of stray inductance, Ls, module
commutation loop. Higher Ls results in reduced energy
for the same module operation conditions as
consequence of lover Vce voltage drop measured across
the IGBT as can be seen in Figure 8. The energy
decrease is true for both driver concepts but the
difference between qualification measurement and the
2ED250E12-F driver with RGon=1.6Ω is higher for
small Ls as shown in Fig. 7. Despite of this
phenomenon for unsymmetrical drive concept the
corrected RGon brings Eon losses on the same level as Fig. 8. Waveforms of the collector emitter (150V/div), gate emitter
(5V/div) voltage and collector current (200A/div)
for symmetrical concept for all presented stray with a 2ED250E12-F driver during switching-on where:
inductances. VDC=600V, IC=900A, RGon=0.85Ω, Tvj=25°C, and
a) Ls=42nH,
b) Ls=164nH

2008 13th International Power Electronics and Motion Control Conference (EPE-PEMC 2008) 91
C. FWD Diode Recovery Behaviour finally diode recovery losses. Therefore, using formula
Diode recovery losses for given power setup (3) may not result in Erec equalization when different
parameters are mainly determined by IGBT turn-on symmetrical driver is used or interface between driver
speed which depends on negative gate driver voltage and module will be different to the one used for
and gate resistor value. Fig. 9 shows how these two qualification measurement.
factors influence the diode recovery losses. D. Energy Losses as Function of Ls
One of many parameters which differentiate IGBT
operation conditions in different applications is the stray
inductance, Ls. Hence, versus this parameter the
unsymmetrical driver concept should be compared with
the symmetrical concept. Figure 11 shows total
energies, ETOT, as sum of Eon, Erec, and Eoff for both
driving concepts and Eoff for unsymmetrical and
symmetrical drive concept with corrected gate resistor
value. A few facts have to be noticed:
• the total energies are stable till Ls reaches
approximately 85nH but Eoff is slightly
increasing. The Eoff increase is fully
compensated by decreased Eon (Fig. 7.) as
Erec has the same increasing tendency as Eoff
• in the region were Ls<85nH the total energy
increases by 20% when driven with
unsymmetrical drive concept keeping
Fig. 9. Recovery losses of an IGBT module versus gate resistor value datasheet gate resistor value
during diode recovery where: VDC=600V, IC=900A, Tvj=150°C,
• after Ls exceeds 85nH the total losses of the
In contrast to switching-on (Fig. 5.) the recovery unsymmetrical system with corrected gate
losses decrease with increased RGon and negative driver resistor value increase faster than symmetrical.
power supply voltage. As visible in Fig. 9 and Fig. 5, The 43mJ difference at Ls=168nH is mainly
reduction of the gate resistor value from 3Ω to 2Ω given by increase Eoff by 38mJ compared to
speeds up module commutation process during symmetrical concept
switching-on process and finally Eon as well as Erec • increased Eoff at high stray inductances is a
losses are the same as for symmetrical gate driver. result of Active Voltage Clamping circuit
Using formula (3) and applying corrected gate resistor operation discussed in reference [4], [12]
value the decreased diode recovery losses are nearly
equalized to values obtained during driving with
symmetrical gate voltage. Diode recovery losses as
function of switched current are depicted Fig. 10.

Fig. 11. ETOT and Eoff of an IGBT module versus stray inductance,
Ls, in commutation loop for symmetrical and unsymmetrical driver
concept where:
VDC=600V, IC=900A, Tvj=25°C.

Fig. 10. Recovery losses of an IGBT module versus switched current

value for symmetrical and unsymmetrical driver concept where: E. Short-Circuit Performances
VDC=600V, Tvj=25°C, Ls=42nH. Every system properly designed with IGBT modules
The negative voltage reduction from -15V to -7V should survive short circuit event. According to
results in Erec reduction of -17% when the same 1,6Ω reference [15] tested devices should be able to switch
gate resistor is used. As already mentioned before, again after short-circuit event with defined short-circuit
changes in gate inductance of the IGBT module duration tpsc. Figure 12 shows IGBT waveforms under
influence the switching-on commutation speed and short circuit one, SC1, for both drive concepts.

92 2008 13th International Power Electronics and Motion Control Conference (EPE-PEMC 2008)
Reduction on the negative voltage does not influence
the shape of the waveforms. Differences in values are
given mostly by different driver design. Nevertheless,
the 2ED250E12-F driver, compared to the symmetric
drive concept, reduces the short circuit peak current as a
result of better gate-emitter voltage stabilization. It
slows down dIC/dt during switching-on and finally
reduces the VCE voltage drop. The Vce overvoltage
during switching-off is limited by Active Voltage
Clamping circuit.

Fig. 13. Block diagram for parasitic turn-on phenomena


Undesirable switching-on is avoided when the gate-

emitter voltage stays bellow the IGBT threshold
voltage, VGEth. By this the simple condition where
VGE<VGEth is fulfilled. Knowing that the VGEth is a
function of junction temperature, switched current, DC-
Fig. 12. Waveforms of the collector emitter voltage (150V/div), gate link voltage and time for safety reasons the gate-emitter
emitter (5V/div) voltage, and collector current (1kA/div) during short voltage value should stay bellow zero.
circuit one where: VDC=800V, Tvj=25°C, Ls=42nH, and: Figure 14 shows the measurement for both driving
a) symmetrical gate voltage, RGoff=1.6Ω,
concepts where the high side IGBT has been switch on
b) unsymmetrical gate voltage, RGoff=0.75Ω
the second time in double pulse measurement
technique. In this dynamic process the low side
F. Parasitic Turn-on Phenomena antiparallel FWD diode recovers and VCEL across an
This effect is defined as IGBT transistors cross IGBT is created. At the time where the high side IGBT
conduction if connected in half-bridge configuration. starts switching-on the positive gate current, IG, of the
Both shortly conduct current from DC+ to DC- low site IGBT flows into the driver and creates a
potentials looped into DC-bus capacitors. Due to high positive voltage drop across the gate resistances.
dynamics in time and peak value this kind of short Regardless of the drive concept discussed in this paper
circuit current is not considered as safe during module the maximum increase on calculated gate-emitter
operation and should be avoided by proper inverter voltage is not more than 4V as shown in Fig. 14a. In the
design. At least two major reasons determine the case when unsymmetrical drive concept is considered
phenomena. First is the IGBT module construction and (Fig. 14b.) the difference between positive VGE peak
switched current. Second, the value of the negative voltage and negative power supply voltage is 3V. The
voltage biased to the gate of a switched-off IGBT VGE voltage in this case has been minimized as RGoff
transistor. As discussed in reference [17] for modules was also reduced and the gate current, IG, determined by
operating bellow 100A the negative voltage value can high side IGBT turning-on switching speed stays
be reduced even to zero but for high power modules unchanged. The result indicates that there is still at least
designed for operating with higher currents having the 4V as safety margin between the maximum VGE voltage
negative voltage is desired. Nevertheless, the optimum and recommended zero volt. Finally, reduction on
value of the negative voltage in this paper is under negative voltage from -15V to -7V did not introduced
discussion. In any case, the off state of an IGBT the parasitic turn-on phenomena and the IGBT can be
regardless of the second transistor state in a leg should controlled safely.
remain off till is not commanded by driver to be Figure 15 shows a case when the low side IGBT has
switched-on. the gate-emitter auxiliary connectors shorted by wire
In order to evaluate the impact of driver negative and the high side IGBT is controlled using the
voltage value on the possible parasitic turn-on the real unsymmetrical drive concept with reduced gate resistor
IGBT gate-emitter voltage on the silicon, VGE, has been value. By the case the high side IGBT’s commutating
calculated based on formula (5) where necessary speed is unchanged. The VGEaux voltage (Fig. 13) is
measures have been made based on schematic shown in equal to zero and gate-emitter voltage can be calculated
Fig. 13. using formula (6).

VGE = VGEaux + ( RG int ⋅ I G ) (5) VGE = RG int ⋅ I G (6)

2008 13th International Power Electronics and Motion Control Conference (EPE-PEMC 2008) 93
be used for cooling the power electronic as well. As the
IGBT driver used to be mounted close to the IGBT
module the increased ambient operating temperature for
this part of the system has to be considered. Major goal
in this case could be to decrease power losses generated
in the driver’s PCB which would result in decreased
temperature keeping the same module switching
frequency, baseplate and ambient temperature. In the
proper gate drive design the hottest point is in the area
of the gate resistors. The temperature can be evaluated
based on a simple thermal model consisting of two
thermal resistances as shown in Fig. 16.

Fig. 14. Waveforms of the collector emitter voltage (200V/div) of

low and high side IGBT, gate emitter (5V/div) voltage, collector
(500A/div) and gate (2A/div) current during high side IGBT
switching-on where: VDC=600V, IC=900A, Tvj=25°C, Ls=42nH, and:
a) symmetrical gate voltage, RGon=RGoff=1,6Ω,
b) unsymmetrical gate voltage, RGon= RGoff=0.75Ω

Fig. 16. Simple IGBT driver thermal model used for gate resistors
temperature calculation.

One resistance called RthB-G couples the gate resistors to

the module baseplate through gate-emitter terminals and
a second called RthG-A to the ambient. Based on formula
(7) the gate resistor temperature, TG, can be calculated
as function of dissipated power in the external gate
resistors, Pdis, ambient temperature, TA, and baseplate
temperature TBASE.

RthG − A ⋅ Pdis + TA − TBASE

TG = RthB−G ⋅ + TBASE (7)
RthB−G + RthG − A
The maximum value of TG is usually limited by PCB
material in use. When the maximum working
temperature for the material is known Pdis can be
Fig. 15. Waveforms of the collector emitter voltage (200V/div) of calculated using formula (8).
low and high site IGBT, gate emitter (2V/div) voltage, collector
(500A/div) and gate (2A/div) current during high side IGBT TG − TBASE TG − TA
switching-on where: VDC=600V, IC=900A, Tvj=25°C, Ls=42nH, Pdis = + (8)
for unsymmetrical gate voltage, RGon= RGoff=0.75Ω RthB −G RthG − A
The VGE maximum voltage during commutation Finally, the maximum IGBT switching frequency, fs, for
exceeds 5,5V and excides the 5V as the minimum a specific driver design can be calculated using formula
threshold voltage, VGEth, specified in module (9) as function of Pdis and module parameters
datasheet. The probability of parasitic turn-on caused by
the negative drive voltage reduction till 0V has Pdis ⋅ ( RG int + RGext )
significantly increased. fs = (9)
ΔVGE ⋅ RGext ⋅ Qq
where Qq (C) is the IGBT gate charge.
Reliability of power electronic systems which would
mean lifetime is mainly determined by operating Based on the thermal model shown in Fig. 16, Figure
temperature. Ageing processes of electronic 17 shows calculated gate resistor temperature and
components mounted mainly on PCB and operated at module switching frequency as function of dissipated
high ambient temperature are generally faster compared power in the gate resistor, Pdis. The temperature TG
to operating at lower temperature. The problem is increases as a function of dissipated power and ambient
solved for Infineon IGBT modules and based on power temperature. Knowing that the long time maximum
cycling curves the usability time can be calculated for operation temperature for FR4 material used in this
operating junction temperatures, Tvjop, equal to 150°C. design is 105°C the maximum allowed power dissipated
This feature makes the semiconductor fitting to e. g. in gate resistors can be easily determined. For TA=65°C,
automotive applications where the coolant used for TBASE=100°C and TG=105°C the Pdis=0.95W. The
cooling combustion engine in some cases is intended to IGBT switching frequency depends on drive concept.

94 2008 13th International Power Electronics and Motion Control Conference (EPE-PEMC 2008)
For symmetrical concept fs=8.6kHz can be achieved but • the module switching frequency can be
when unsymmetrical concept is used the switching increased. In that case temperature of the gate
frequency can be increased by 190% and reaches resistors value is not changing as presented in
25kHz. Fig. 17
• for unchanged module switching frequency the
gate resistor temperature can be reduced. This
results also in lower power needed from driver
power supply as presented in Fig. 18
• for unchanged module switching frequency the
gate resistor area can be minimized. This results
with unchanged higher gate resistor temperature

Fig. 17. Calculated gate resistors temperature, TG, for two ambient
temperatures, TA=65°C, TA=85°C and IGBT switching frequency, fs,
versus gate resistors dissipated power, Pdis.

In order not to exceed the maximum operation

temperature for PCB the dissipated power must be
reduced to 0.52W when ambient temperature increases
to 85°C. This limitation results in decreased switching
frequencies of 4.75kHz for symmetrical drive concept.
For unsymmetrical drive the switching frequency is Fig. 18. Calculated gate resistors temperature, TG, and driving power
higher by 180% and reaches 13.2kHz. Calculated from driver power supply, Psup, for TA=85°C, and TBASE=100°C versus
switching frequencies in this chapter for given ambient IGBT switching frequency, fs.
and baseplate temperatures are only examples. In real The 2ED250E12-F design has been practically
operation when TA and TB is given by design the validated during the 2ED250E12-F operation. Figure 19
module switching frequency is limited by PCB material. shows a thermal camera picture where the hottest point
Based on formula (9) for specific IGBT driver design in the driver design is the gate resistors. The
can be calculated. For both ambient temperatures the temperature TG reaches 106°C and corresponding to
maximum allowed switching frequency for Pdis=0.52W depicted in Fig. 17.
unsymmetrical drive concept is much higher compared
to symmetrical.
On one side increased fs can be a design target but
often decreased gate resistor temperature for fixed base,
ambient temperatures and IGBT switching frequency is
the goal. Figure 18 shows the gate resistors temperature
and power needed from power supply, Psup, versus
module switching frequency for both driver concepts.
Driving power need for IGBT switching is calculated
according to formula (10)

Psup = ΔVGE ⋅ fs ⋅ Qq (10)

where ¨VGE is the absolute value of the gate-emitter

voltage during IGBT switching. The power, Psup, as
well as gate resistor temperature is increasing linearly
with the module’s switching frequency. For fs=5kHz,
TA=85°C, TBASE=100°C and symmetrical power supply
the resistors temperature is around 105°C. Needed Fig. 19. Thermal picture of the 2ED250E12-F unsymmetrical driver
driving power from power supply is 0.96W. The where: TA=85°C, TBASE=100°C, fs=13.2kHz.
2ED250E12-F driver for the same environmental
parameters needs reduced Psup=0.49W which is nearly
half and the TG is reduced by 8.7°C. Hence, the gate IV. CONCLUSION
resistor temperature is equal to 97.25°C. Increased IGBT module junction operation
Decreased negative voltage from -15V to -7V for the temperature requires modified surroundings which can
driver design presented in this paper offers the operate a long time with high ambient temperatures. To
following possibilities: meet the harsh requirement the IGBT driver technology

2008 13th International Power Electronics and Motion Control Conference (EPE-PEMC 2008) 95
has been moved from optocoupler devices to Coreless [7] M. Muenzer, at. al.: Coreless transformer a new technology for
Transformer technology. half bridge driver IC’s, PCIM Nuremberg, 2003,
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Europe 2005

96 2008 13th International Power Electronics and Motion Control Conference (EPE-PEMC 2008)