Panasonic develops world’s first microwave-controlled ultra compact power converter

Panasonic today announced the development of an all-integrated power converter that allows the power switches to be controlled by microwave signals. The world’s first microwave-controlled power converter consists of an integrated matrix-converter power switching chip that directly converts AC power to AC of the desired frequency and amplitude, and a gate drive transmitter chip that controls the power switching chip. As a result, the new converter, which is one-hundredth of the size of conventional power converters, realizes reduction of conversion power loss.

Motor-driven equipment mostly uses power conversion systems with an inverter to save power. As those systems are composed of large-size discrete components, they cannot be installed in a compact system. Conventional power converter systems using an inverter have close to 10% power conversion loss during the AC to DC conversion and the subsequent DC to AC conversion. The new ultra compact power converter consists of a GaN-based bi-directional power switching chip and a microwave gate drive transmitter chip, enabling to integrate a motor and its drive system. Further, it is maintenance-free because it does not require discrete components that can limit the life span of the system.

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