1st course in the Power Semiconductor Devices Specialization

Instructor: Bart Van Zeghbroeck, PhD, Professor

Power Semiconductor devices that are commonly used in power electronic circuits. Starting with the circuit models of these devices, we will identify the requirements leading to low loss circuits and learn how these can be simulated and analyzed in basic switching circuits.

Prior knowledge needed: Students are expected to have an undergraduate-level active circuit knowledge and some experience with LTSPICE. Students who have not used LTSPICE before, should expect to spend more than the estimated time needed to complete the simulation-based assignments.

Learning Outcomes

  • Provide students with a basic understanding of semiconductor power switches

  • Students will be able to identify important device characteristics, such as on-state and switching loss.

  • Students will learn to model as well as simulate these devices individually and in a power converter circuit.


This module explains 1) the need for power conversion using a grid-connected solar system with storage and an electric vehicle as examples, 2) lists common power conversion circuits and their device requirements, and 3) provides an overview of different power device characteristics.

Duration: 2 hours

This module introduces key power switches: Diodes, MOSFETs and IGBTs as well as a brief introduction to other power devices including a first comparison.

Duration: 5 hours

This module covers typical device data sheet characteristics including 1) DC nominal and maximum values, 2) Switching parameters and 3) Temperature dependence and maximum allowed temperatures.

Duration: 2 hours

This modules shows how to identify power dissipation in 1) individual diodes and MOSFETs and 2) in a boost convertor circuit containing both a diode and MOSFET.

Duration: 2 hours

Duration: 2 hours


Assignment Percentage of Grade
Quiz: M1.1 Need for power conversion 1%
Quiz: M1.2 Power conversion basics 2%
Quiz: M1.3 Power device classification 1%
Quiz: M2.1 Simulation of a diode using LTSPICE 3%
Quiz: M2.2 MOSFET simulation (part 1) 4%
Quiz: M2.2 MOSFET simulation (part 2) 4%
Quiz: M2.3 IGBTs 1%
Quiz: M2.4 Other devices 1%
Quiz: M3.1 DC data sheet characteristics 1%
Quiz: M3.2 Switching parameters 5%
Quiz: M3.3 Thermal resistance and junction temperature 3%
Quiz: M4.1 Device power dissipation 4%
Quiz: M4.2 Boost convertor simulation 5%
Practice Exam 15%
Final Exam 50%

Letter Grade Rubric

Letter Grade 
Minimum Percentage
A 90%
A- 87%
B+ 83%
B 80%
B- 77%
C+ 73%
C 70%
C- 67%
D+ 63%
D 60%
F 0%

Component List

Reading assignments are provided through Coursera. Suggested reference texts include:

  • B. Van Zeghbroeck, “Principles of Semiconductor Devices”, http://truenano.com/PSD20

  • B. G. Streetman and S. Banerjee, "Solid State Electronic Devices”, Fifth Edition, Prentice Hall, 2000.

  • S. M. Sze, "Physics of Semiconductor Devices”, Second Edition, John Wiley & Sons, 1981.

  • B. J. Baliga, “Fundamentals of Power Semiconductor Devices”, Second Edition, Springer, 2019.