Carnegie Mellon University

Electrical and Computer Engineering

College of Engineering

Course Information

18-729C: Special Topics in Circuits: Power Electronics




In this age when everything is connected to the internet-of-things (IOT), students should understand how RF Transceivers and Antennas can allow such devices to be connected without wires. This class will give students the chance to learn about IOT devices and how they communicate using radio frequency (RF) signals. Students will gain an understanding of antenna design and operation, a high-level understanding of RF signal propagation, an introduction to RF Transceiver design and operation and an overview of multi-input multi-output (MIMO) RF operation. A Laboratory section is included in this class. In Lab, students will learn how to assemble printed circuit board (PCBs) using the Tech Spark surface mount PCB assembly facility. Early Lab sessions will demonstrate RF signals, antennas, and constructive and destructive RF interference. Students control the RF transceiver ICs by programming an ultra-low-power processor. Several different PCB antenna designs will be explored in the Lab sessions. Lab exercises will culminate with students building up a computer-controlled RF transmitter driving a PCB antenna and using it to send data from one student to another. The final project in this class allows students design, fabricate and test out their own simplified RF-enabled IOT device based on the Lab hardware. Although students in 18-729 will share Lectures and Recitations with students in 18-429, students in 18-729 will receive distinct homework assignments and distinct project requirements from students in 18-429.

Students should have taken 18-290 and 18-320 with a minimum grade of B, or equivalent background material with permission of the instructor.

Previously "Special Topics in Circuits: Power Electronics"

The course will cover, from a ground-up approach, devices and their characteristics, conversion techniques and circuits with an emphasis on power conversion fundamentals, and applications of power electronics.

The course will describe power electronics as the combination of power, electronics, and control; wherein the "control" aspect addresses steady-state and dynamic characteristics of closed-loop systems; "power" addresses static, dynamic, and rotating equipment for the generation, transmission, and distribution of electric power; and "electronics" addresses solid-state devices and circuits for signal processing that meet the desired control objectives of the system. The course deals will all of these aspects of power electronics, and defines power electronics as the applications of solid-state electronics for the control and conversion of electric power.

The course will introduce the various types of power semiconductor technologies, along with their designs, switching techniques, and operating phenomena. A description of the impact that the development of microprocessors & microcomputer technology has had on the control and synthesis of power semiconductors will be introduced. An explanation will be provided on how power electronics uses power semiconductors as the "muscle" and microelectronics as the "brain" or "intelligence" of power electronics systems.

Consideration is given to the continued advancement of power semiconductor capabilities and switching speeds, which has lead to higher-power applications in products, including (but not limited to) lighting and heat controls, motor controls and motor drives, power supplies, vehicle propulsion systems, high-voltage dc converter systems (HVDC), and flexible ac transmission systems (FACTS), all of which will be studied.

Power electronics circuit design and characteristics will be described, covering diode circuits, rectifiers, voltage controllers, drives, inverters and converters. Aspects of design challenges and economic considerations will be introduced.

Conversion techniques, including various pulse-width modulation methods, will be described. Practical aspects of control coordination and application needs in balance with conversion methods will be explored.

Descriptions of power supplies and power conditioning will be conducted. Both DC and AC drive systems will be introduced.

Applications of power electronics systems will be explained, including technologies applied for static switching, drive systems, UPS, HVDC, FACTS, and other systems utilized in commercial, industrial, transportation, and high-power utility fields. Future applications and advancements of power electronics technologies will be explored.

3 hrs. lec.

Prerequisite: Senior or graduate standing

Last Modified: 2022-06-16 1:17PM

Semesters offered:

  • Fall 2022
  • Spring 2007