Juan Rivas Receives CAREER Award for Research in Next-Generation Power Electronics

  Bookmark and Share

Juan Rivas
Prof. Juan Rivas in the Michigan Power & Energy Laboratory

Prof. Juan Rivas, assistant professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, was recently awarded an NSF CAREER award for his research project, "Power converters with embedded passive components."

According to Prof. Rivas, traditional methods to achieve lighter, smaller, and more efficient power electronic systems, needed to accommodate similar advances in electronic devices, are nearing the end of their ability to improve much beyond their current state. In this CAREER project, Rivas will investigate new design techniques to dramatically improve the power density and performance of power electronics.

His research will focus on developing new circuit techniques and fabrication methods to achieve highly efficient medium- to high-power converters. These converters will have inductors and transformers that require none of the magnetic material used in traditional converters that currently limits high frequency performance. Device
  400W 13.56 MHz Inverter with PCB inductors

Prof. Rivas has been experimenting with high frequency induction heating in his lab. The following video shows Rivas and his students heating a stainless steel knife to a red-hot temperature very quickly through high frequency induction heating.

20 seconds from room temperature to blazingly hot.

What makes his device unusual is its small size relative to its output frequency. For example, the highest frequency used in standard induction heating is 1 MHz, and devices needed to do that are much larger than that seen here. This device has an output of 13 MHz.

Rivas's device also operates without any magnetic material, unlike standard devices. Magnetic material tends to fail at high temperatures and therefore requires cooling during operation. Such a device is ideal for high temperature applications, such as use in an automobile engine block.


The CAREER grant is one of NSF's most prestigious awards, conferred for "the early career-development activities of those teacher-scholars who most effectively integrate research and education within the context of the mission of their organization."

Posted: November 28, 2012 by
Catharine June
EECS/ECE Communications Coordinator or 734-936-2965

Related Topics:   Automobile industry    Power Electronics    Power & Energy    Rivas, Juan