​Researchers localize high voltage semiconductor for pulse power generation

By Park Sae-jin Posted : October 27, 2022, 14:16 Updated : October 27, 2022, 14:16

[Courtesy of ETRI]

SEOUL -- A joint team of researchers has succeeded in the localization of high-voltage semiconductor thyristors for pulse power generators. The electrical switch chip can be used for various military and heavy-duty purposes such as rail guns, warships, particle accelerators, and plasma generators.
Pulse power generation uses low-voltage power sources to charge capacitors which are discharged in series to gain voltage multiplication and produce a high-voltage pulse. The generation method is ideal for use in rail guns and particle accelerators that require extreme voltage output in a short period of time.
A high-voltage semiconductor is a type of solid-state electrical switch that does not require mechanical parts. The semiconductor switch also known as the MOS-controlled thyristor (MCT) has a lower conduction loss rate and higher high voltage capabilities compared to other physical or electrical switches. It can withstand high voltage and large currents and is durable.
The Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI) said that a joint team led by ETRI researchers has localized a 1,400-volt and 2,500-volt-class silicon MCT semiconductor for pulse power generation. 
The chip switches can withstand more than 1,600 volts and 3,000 volts, respectively.

ETRI said that the new chips have the same performance as the MCT ships made by foreign companies. Currently, South Korea heavily relies on foreign high-voltage semiconductors for pulse power generators. "I hope this technology will be used for the production of power parts in the fields of military and commercial equipment," Park Keon-sik, an ETRI researcher, said in a statement on October 27. 
Along with the MCT switch chip, researchers developed a commercial 800-volt-class free-charge relay and a static electricity generator prototype. A free-charge relay incorporates high-capacity batteries and stabilizes electricity output. It can be linked to the MCT chip to increase the lifespan of power systems and effectively control electrical noises.
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