IGBT Basic (1)

1. Introduction
Prior to the development of the IGBTs (insulated gate bipolar transistor), power MOSFETs were used in medium or low voltage applications which require fast switching.

Whereas bipolar power transistors, thyristors and GTOs were used in medium to high voltage applications which require high current conduction. A power MOSFET allows for simple gate control circuit design and has excellent fast switching capability. On the other hand, at 200V or higher, it has the disadvantage of rapidly increasing on-resistance as the breakdown voltage increases. The bipolar power transistor has excellent on-state characteristics due to the low forward voltage drop, but its base control circuit is complex, and fast switching operation is difficult as compared with the MOSFET. The IGBT developed in the early 1980s has the combined advantages of the above two devices. It has a MOS gate input structure, which has a simple gate control circuit design and is capable of fast switching up to 100kHz. Additionally, because the IGBT output has a bipolar transistor structure, its current conduction capability is superior to a bipolar power transistor. Based upon these excellent characteristics, the IGBT has been extensively used in applications exceeding 300V voltage as an alternative to power MOSFETs and bipolar power transistors. Its area of application continues to increase. The IGBT is becoming more modular as its use increases in applications that require higher current conduction capability.

to be continued………

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