Faculty of Engineering


Research Highlights

Integrated Technologies for the Energy Internet Era

The evolution of electrical energy conversion technologies is dependent upon three main parameters: efficiency, power density and reliability. The engineering solutions enabling their joint optimisation have consistently been adopted through a process of natural selection.

Future developments largely rely on the use of solid-state devices operating at increasingly higher frequencies and temperatures. Presently, a new class of semiconductor materials, so-called wide-band-gap (silicon-carbide, SiC; gallium-nitride, GaN; gallium-oxide, Ga2O3) materials, is replacing silicon in a number of pivotal domains of our societal infrastructure, such as energy, transportation and industrial applications. At the same time, these materials are also underpinning the development of novel smarter scenarios, summarily referred to as the energy internet. Full exploitation of the superior features and disruptive potential of wide-band-gap technologies will depend upon the availability of bespoke solutions for their packaging, assembly and operation. The Solid-State Power Processing Laboratory (SP2-Lab) at the KUAS Faculty of Engineering is working at the forefront of these developments and, relying on state-of-the-art experimental equipment and computer-aided-design tools, has already produced noteworthy reference results regarding the robust deployment of these solutions.

While the physics and operation of the semiconductors themselves is determined on micro- to milli-metric feature sizes and micro- to milli-second timescales, their use in actual power converters requires co-packaging and thermal management in multi-chip assemblies characterised by dimensions and time-constants which are a few orders of magnitude larger. In delivering environmentally aware novel solutions for energy utilization, the SP2-Lab takes a holistic research approach encompassing device, module, converter and system level analysis and synthesis to ensure a well-matched and seamless integration of the functional and structural characteristics of all components.