About the Plenary Sessions

The APEC Plenary Session continued the long-standing tradition of addressing issues of immediate and long-term interest to the practicing power electronic engineer. The APEC plenary presentations typically have been from invited distinguished professionals.

The APEC Plenary Session continues a long-standing tradition of addressing issues of immediate and long-term interest to the practicing power electronic engineer. The APEC plenary presentations typically have been from invited distinguished professionals.

Following is the schedule for Plenary Sessions:

Monday, March 16th, 2020

1:15 p.m. - 1:30 p.m - Opening Remarks

1:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Power Electronics: Where Have We Been? Where Are We Going?

John Kassakian, Professor, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology

John G. Kassakian is Professor of Electrical Engineering, Emeritus, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His field of expertise is power electronics and automotive electrical systems. He received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from MIT, and prior to joining the MIT faculty, he served a two year tour of duty in the U.S. Navy. Dr. Kassakian was the founding president of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) Power Electronics Society, served as the U.S. representative to the European Power Electronics Association, and is the recipient of the IEEE Centennial Medal, the IEEE William E. Newell Award, the IEEE Power Electronics Society’s Distinguished Service Award, the IEEE Millennium Medal, the European Power Electronics Association Achievement Award, and the Kabakjian Science Award. In 1989 he was elected a fellow of the IEEE and in 1993 he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering. In 1993 he was also awarded an IEEE Distinguished Lectureship through which he has lectured internationally. He has published extensively in the areas of power electronics, power systems, education and automotive electrical systems, co-chaired the MIT study “The Future of the Electric Grid” and is a co-author of the textbook Principles of Power Electronics. Prof. Kassakian is a former member of the boards of directors of ISO New England (the independent system operator of the New England electric utility system), American Power Conversion Corporation, Sheldahl, and Marvell Semiconductor, and the Corporate Advisory Board of Tyco Electronics. He currently serves as a consultant and member of the Technical Advisory Board of Lutron Electronics.

Abstract: Solid state power Electronics had its genesis in 1959 with the invention of the SCR at GE. The development of the 2N3055, one of the earliest and most ubiquitous Si power transistors followed shortly. Power electronics became an explicit focus of the IEEE in 1983 with the formation of the Power Electronics Council. The launching of APEC in 1986, and the creation of PELS in 1988 solidified its role in the Institute. Applications have grown rapidly, as have component and manufacturing technologies. Today we are challenged to meet requirements of evolving applications that demand multidisciplinary thinking, high levels of integration, very high efficiencies, high gravimetric and volumetric specific power, and significant cross-field collaboration. Industrial processes, electric vehicles, robotics, decreasing logic voltages, electric aircraft, attention to energy conservation and global warming, and even 5G, are providing power electronics with a fertile and exciting future.

2:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Power in Automotive: Performance in Several Dimensions

David Dwelley, Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, Maxim Integrated

David Dwelley joined Maxim as Chief Technology Officer in 2017. As leader of the Advanced R&D organization, Dave is responsible for driving innovation in process technology and strategic IP development. Prior to joining Maxim, Dave spent 29 years at Analog Devices/Linear Technology in a variety of technical leadership roles. Most recently, he worked in the LTC/ADI Office of the CTO. In addition to his extensive knowledge of the semiconductor industry, Dave has a deep passion for innovation and has spent his career creating environments in which it can thrive. Dave holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from the University of California, Berkeley.

Abstract: Power in automotive entails more than just power. Other important areas to consider are quality and diagnostics, safety, functionality, qualification and documentation. These important items, as well as traditional power performance, need to be designed in at the start. This session will discuss strategies to create power devices that meet the wide variety of automotive performance requirements.

2:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Emerging Technologies in Transportation Power Electronics

Burak Ozpineci, Group Leader, Power Electronics and Electric Machinery Group, Program Manager, Electric Drive Technologies, Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Burak Ozpineci received the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN, USA, in 1998 and 2002, respectively. He joined the Post-Masters Program with the Power Electronics and Electric Machinery Research Center, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Knoxville, TN, USA, in 2001 and became a Full-Time Research and Development Staff Member in 2002 and Group Leader of the Power and Energy Systems Group in 2008. He is currently leading the Power Electronics and Electric Machinery Group and managing the Electric Drive Technologies Program at ORNL. He also serves as a Joint Faculty Associate Professor with The Bredesen Center at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Dr. Ozpineci is a new IEEE Fellow - Class 2020.

Abstract: Today’s electric vehicles (EV) are not being designed like conventional gasoline vehicles where all the components are under the hood. Rather skateboard designs are being used where the skateboard holds the batteries and traction drive system. This require much higher power density, low profile designs for research in highly integrated power modules, high voltage inverters, non-heavy rare earth electric motors, and integrated electric drive systems. There is also a demand for faster charging times rivaling the refill times of gasoline vehicles which increases the interest in high power wired and wireless charging. This talk will focus on electric vehicle drive and charging challenges and approaches to achieving high power densities and fast charging. This talk will also cover the emerging technologies such as additive manufacturing, artificial intelligence/machine learning, cyber security issues, high-performance computing and their use in power electronics.

3:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.


3:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Hybrid Switched-Capacitor Power Converters – Circuit Topologies and Control Techniques to Meet the Future Power Density Demands

Robert Pilawa-Podgurski, Professor, University of California Berkeley

Robert Pilawa-Podgurski is currently an Associate Professor in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences Department at the University of California, Berkeley. Previously, he was an Associate Professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. He received his BS, MEng, and PhD degrees from MIT. He performs research in the area of power electronics. His research interests include renewable energy applications, electric vehicles, energy harvesting, CMOS power management, high density and high efficiency power converters, and advanced control of power converters. Dr. Pilawa-Podgurski received the Chorafas Award for outstanding MIT EECS Master’s thesis, the Google Faculty Research Award in 2013, and the 2014 Richard M. Bass Outstanding Young Power Electronics Engineer Award of the IEEE Power Electronics Society, given annually to one individual for outstanding contributions to the field of power electronics before the age of 35. In 2015, he received the Air Force Office of Scientific Research Young Investigator Award, the UIUC Dean’s Award for Excellence in Research in 2016, the UIUC Campus Distinguished Promotion Award in 2017, and the UIUC ECE Ronald W. Pratt Faculty Outstanding Teaching Award in 2017. He was the 2018 recipient of the IEEE Education Society Mac E. Van Valkenburg Award given for outstanding contributions to teaching unusually early in ones career. Since 2014, he serves as Associate Editor for IEEE Transactions on Power Electronics, and for IEEE Journal of Emerging and Selected Topics in Power Electronics. He is co-author of nine IEEE prize papers.

Abstract: Recently, new circuit topologies and control techniques have been proposed to make use of the superior energy density of capacitors compared to inductors, to enable power converters with greatly increased power density and efficiency. In this talk, I will provide a review of the research developments over the last decade in the area of hybrid switched-capacitor (SC) converters, which have shown great promise to leverage the benefits of high density capacitors, while mitigating the detrimental characteristics of pure SC converters. Various methods for evaluating hybrid SC converter topologies along with figures of merit for different circuit topologies will be discussed, along with recent examples of high performance hardware prototypes in the area of data center power delivery. This talk will provide examples of how fundamental advancements in academic research have been rapidly picked up in industrial designs, and highlight key areas of research for further power density and efficiency improvements, along with considerations of reliability and cost.

4:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Power Electronics for Consumer Applications

Balu Balakrishnan, CEO, Power Integrations

Balu Balakrishnanjoined Power Integrations in 1989, serving in a variety of roles before becoming president and COO in April 2001. He was named CEO and appointed to the company's board of directors in January 2002. Before joining Power Integrations in 1989, Mr. Balakrishnan was employed for 11 years by National Semiconductor Corporation, where his responsibilities included engineering and product-line management.

Mr. Balakrishnan, who has 40 years of engineering, marketing and management experience in the semiconductor industry, is the chief inventor of several key Power Integrations’ technologies and has been issued 195 U.S. patents. He has received the Discover Award for Technological Innovation as well as a TechAmerica Innovator Award, both in recognition of the environmental benefits of EcoSmart technology. Mr. Balakrishnan has an M.S.E.E. from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a B.S.E.E. from Bangalore University, India.

Abstract: Power converters for consumer products have always been extremely cost sensitive. In recent times, innovations in circuit simplification and integration have worked well to drive costs down, in spite of regulatory pressure to reduce energy waste by improved efficiency and minimized no-load power use. Powerful market forces have emerged which are dramatically increasing the complexity of power supplies – variable output voltage USB-PD, for example – and also increasing the required power density. In fact, due to fast charging and bigger batteries demanded by today’s large screen 5G cellphones, the power density needs of USB-PD adapters rival those of servers and other historically bleeding-edge application categories. In addition, the portability requirement and criticality of mobile devices in people’s lives means that failure is not an option, even in regions with highly variable mains power, high surge and fast transient exposure. Efficiency, robustness, and compactness requirements have combined to drive the first high volume use of high voltage GaN transistors, implementation of thermal foldback, and load-driven real time voltage and current adjustments with tens of millivolt and milliamp accuracy, all while maintaining a weather eye on affordability. This presentation details the market forces driving product developments and the response to those demands by semiconductor manufacturers.

4:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

SiC Power Technology: Answering Automotive Readiness

John Palmour, CTO, Wolfspeed, A Cree Company

John W. Palmour is the Chief Technology Officer for Wolfspeed, a Cree company. He directs and conducts the power Device, microwave device, and materials development for Wolfspeed. He was one of the co-founders of Cree in 1987, and served on the Board of Directors for the company from 1995 to 2010. Dr. Palmour has been a leader in SiC and GaN device development for the last 32 years, and has demonstrated numerous firsts in these technology areas. He has been responsible for the development of high voltage, 4H-SiC power transistors and diodes, as well as high frequency GaN HEMTs and MMICs. During his career, he has authored or co-authored more than 380 publications and is a co-inventor on 75 U.S. patents. Dr. Palmour received his B.S. and Ph.D. degrees from North Carolina State University, Raleigh, in 1982 and 1988, respectively, where his major was in Materials Science and Engineering. Dr. Palmour became a Fellow of the IEEE in 2013.

Abstract: SiC semiconductor technology has entered a stage of rapid market adoption in the last few years. This rapid adoption has been due to continuous improvements in cost, quality, and availability. The costs are being driven down by higher volumes. Improved material defect densities are also lowering cost and improving quality and availability of higher current products. Further, system costs and range in Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) are both improved with SiC. A significant percentage of automotive OEMs are now targeting SiC power MOSFETs to power their drive trains, which will drive a very large increase in both volume, and ever-increasing expectations on quality.

The bulk of SiC power device manufacturing has now migrated to 150 mm substrates, and the industry is pushing to rapidly increase volume. In several years, it is expected that the volume demands will dwarf today’s current demand. Efforts to meet this demand will be described. As the market grows further, the push to 200 mm substrates is inevitable, and these have been demonstrated in R&D already.

The rapid adoption of SiC is primarily driven by the on-board charger power density requirements and the efficiency advantages in the inverter for the drivetrain in BEVs. The advantages of SiC in these applications will be discussed. For example, SiC offers a 5-10% improvement in efficiency for the motor drive, which results in either extended range for the vehicle for a given battery charge, or a reduction in the battery pack required to go a certain distance. The large number of SiC die required per inverter will drive a requirement for very low failure rates, so the quality expectations for this will also be discussed.

*speakers, times, and topics subject to change.