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Academic year
Didactic period
Secondo Semestre

Training objectives

The subject deals with the fundamentals for the design of electronic power converters that are used in electrical power supplies. The common context is the energy efficiency in different application scenarios (power supplies of electronic systems, motor drives, UPS, and photovoltaic systems). The key features of efficient energy conversion systems are analyzed with particular emphasis on switching circuits and their control as well as power electronic devices.

In the field of the static conversion of electrical energy, the student will learn:
- fundamentals, technology, and application of power electronic devices and circuits;
- issues related to energy quality, energetic efficiency, and energy harvesting;
- analysis and design of switching power converters/supplies considering their control and thermal management.

The main acquired skills (i.e., the capability of applying what has been learnt) will be:
- design of electronic power converters;
- filter design;
- control design;
- thermal transistor management.


Diodes, BJTs and FETs (fundamentals and switching). Circuit and signal theory. Basic analog and digital circuits. Signal modulation. Fundamentals of control theory: feedback, stability and compensation.

Course programme

60 hours of teaching are given, divided in lectures and guided lab experiences.

Fundamentals of energy conversion: applications, classification, and performance. Interface with the energy source (energy quality and continuity, standards); energy harvesting.

Switching power converters: general properties of DC/DC, DC/AC, AC/DC, and AC/AC conversion. DC/DC switching converters: Buck. Boost. Buck-boost. DC/DC converters with electrical isolation (fly-back). Full bridge. Filter and snubber design. Device ratings. Current and voltage control. Analysis of an integrated controller. Hysteretic control. Basics of digital control.

Magnetic components, power transistors and drivers: electromagnetism basics, inductor design principles, transformer models. Diode, BJT, MOS, IGBT. Ratings. Switching networks. Driver and isolation (hints).

Power architectures: evolution, synchronous DC/DC converters, DC/DC regulators and LDOs, and their use.

Electrical engines: DC and AC engines: basics, equivalent circuits; equations and/or fundamental characteristics (torque/velocity), braking.

DC/AC converters: DC/AC converters. PWM and sinusoidal PWM control. UPS, Photovoltaic systems, and motor drives.

Line frequency rectifiers: half- and full-wave rectifiers: analysis and design. Diode ratings. Design criteria for LC and C filters. LC input filter and PFC. Three-phase rectifier. Diode ratings and LC filter design. Power factor. Controlled line frequency rectifiers: SCR and GTO. AC/DC and AC/AC converters.

Laboratory: design, realization and testing of a switching conversion system.

Didactic methods

The course is organized as follows:
- Frontal lectures on all the topics of the course
- Classroom converter design examples
- Design laboratory: under the supervision of a teaching tutor and mostly in the informatics and electronics labs; students will work alone or in small groups (maximum 3 students). The students are required to provide a report on the lab work.

Learning assessment procedures

The final examination is in oral form and can be carried out in English. Questions on the course topics are aimed at evaluating the comprehension of the topics and the gained skills.
If the student provides the lab report, slides on DC/DC isolated converters are not subjects of oral questions.
Exams are given weekly. The examination list closes two days before the scheduled date.

Passing the exam is proof of having acquired the ability to apply knowledge related to energy static conversion, and to the design of switching power converters.

Reference texts

Didactic material provided by the teacher.
Specific topics can be further developed in the following texts:
Elettronica Industriale: Convertitori DC/DC operanti in commutazione, F.Filicori e G.Vannini, Editrice Esculapio, Luglio 1999, Bologna (main part of the course).
Elettronica di Potenza: Convertitori ed applicazioni, Mohan, Undeland, Robbins, Hoepli, 2005.
Power Electronics: Converters, Applications and Design, Mohan, Undeland, Robbins, J.Wiley, 1995.
Fundamentals of power electronics, R.Erickson, Kluwer, 1997 (ebook 2001).
Power Electronics: Circuits, devices and applications, M.Rashid, Prentice Hall, 1993. (2014 ebook - 2007 versione italiana - 2017 Handbook ebook).