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GaN-based cryogenic temperature power electronics for superconducting motors in cryo-electric aircraft

Wadsworth, Aaron, Thrimawithana, Duleepa J., Zhao, Lei, Neuburger, Martin, Oliver, Rachel A. and Wallis, David J. ORCID: 2023. GaN-based cryogenic temperature power electronics for superconducting motors in cryo-electric aircraft. Superconductor Science and Technology 36 (9) , 094002. 10.1088/1361-6668/ace5e7

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Climate change has spurred a shift to electric transportation, but aviation faces challenges with electric energy storage and propulsion. Cryogenically cooled superconducting motors, along with cryogenically cooled power electronics, offer a solution to increase the efficiency and power density of electric aircraft. This paper evaluates the feasibility of cryogenic power electronics by characterising new technologies (GaN, nanocrystalline) using new experimental techniques. It is found that the on resistance reductions of GaN E-high electron mobility transistors at cryogenic temperatures depend on the maximum blocking voltage of the device, and the size of the gate resistor for ohmic p-GaN devices. Different types of nanocrystalline cores are shown to vary greatly in their behaviour at cryogenic temperatures, which is measured using a modified core loss measurement circuit. Further analysis shows that the losses of a GaN based cryogenic inverter could potentially halve that of an equivalent Si based inverter.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Engineering
Additional Information: License information from Publisher: LICENSE 1: URL:, Type: cc-by
Publisher: IOP Publishing
ISSN: 0953-2048
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 1 August 2023
Date of Acceptance: 10 July 2023
Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 14:48

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