Power Electronic Device Switching Techniques - Hard switching and Soft Switching

In the 1970’s, conventional PWM power converters were operated in a switched mode operation. Power switches have to cut off the load current within the turn-on and turn-off times under the hard switching conditions. Hard switching refers to the stressful switching behavior of the power electronic devices. The switching trajectory of a hard-switched power device is shown in Fig.1. During the turn-on and turn-off processes, the power device has to withstand high voltage and current simultaneously, resulting in high switching losses and stress. Dissipative passive snubbers are usually added to the power circuits so that the dv/dt and di/dt of the power devices could be reduced, and the switching loss and stress be diverted to the passive snubber circuits. However, the switching loss is proportional to the switching frequency, thus limiting the maximum switching frequency of the power converters.

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