Overtemperature Protection Circuit for GaN Devices Using a di/dt Sensor

Mohammad Hedayati, Jianjing Wang, Harry C P Dymond, Dawei Liu, Bernard H Stark*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


Power semiconductor devices have maximum junction temperature limits, but it is not straightforward to sense or infer temperature inside sealed devices in running converters. One method is to observe electrical behavior that is known to be temperature dependent. For example, in some gallium nitride (GaN) power semiconductor devices, the maximum slope of the device current at turn- on has been shown to reduce as the junction temperature increases. This article demonstrates the first noncontact overtemperature protection circuit for GaN power devices that exploits this effect and overcomes the complication that this inverse proportionality is affected by load current. A variant of a previously reported magnetic field “Infinity Sensor,” named after its figure-of-eight topology and high bandwidth (>200 MHz), measures di/dt . Using the sensor signal as the only input, a detection circuit finds peak di/dt , and a high-speed integrator derives instantaneous load current. The reference voltage for the decision-making part of the circuit is automatically adjusted as a function of load current, in order to counteract the dependence of di/dt on load current. Experimental results on a 400 V, 2 kW buck converter show the protection circuit successfully activating within ±5 °C of a preprogrammed junction temperature setting, independently of load current, for settings of 100, 120, and 140 °C.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7417 - 7428
JournalIEEE Transactions on Power Electronics
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2020

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