Design, Operation, and Loss Characterization of a 1-kW GaN-Based Three-Level Converter at Cryogenic Temperatures

Christopher B. Barth, Thomas Foulkes, Oscar Azofeifa, Juan Colmenares, Keith Coulson, Nenad Miljkovic, Robert C.N. Pilawa-Podgurski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article investigates the potential for high power density, high-efficiency power conversion using GaN-based flying capacitor multilevel power converters at low temperature. Specific focus is given to the application of hybrid aircraft powered by liquefied natural gas. Building off of prior characterization of GaN switches over temperature, this article outlines the impact of near-cryogenic operation on the losses of a complete 1-kW inverter. Specific focus has been given to the characterization of the losses in ceramic capacitors and inductors at near-cryogenic operation. A 1-kW GaN-based three-level power converter was designed and successfully tested from room temperature down to-140°C. Along with the first demonstration of a flying capacitor multilevel converter and associated components at such low temperature, a breakdown of losses over temperature is included to facilitate a better understanding of the opportunities and challenges introduced by this article.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number9075366
Pages (from-to)12040-12052
Number of pages13
JournalIEEE Transactions on Power Electronics
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2020


  • Capacitor
  • FCML
  • MLCC
  • cryogenic
  • dynamic rdson
  • electrified aircraft
  • flying capacitor multilevel converter
  • gallium nitride (GaN)
  • hybrid
  • inverter
  • liquefied natural gas (LNG)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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