PhD GaN-based Power Electronics for Reliable Next-Generation Actuation Systems

PhD GaN-based Power Electronics for Reliable Next-Generation Actuation Systems

Published Deadline Location
1 May 16 Jun Eindhoven

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Job description

Within this project, we are looking for a talented power electronics PhD-candidate. Your main goal will be to research and develop gallium-nitride (GaN) based power electronics that cause low transient electric fields, in order to mitigate partial-discharge induced failures in linear actuators. Such linear actuators are used in high-tech motion systems, for example to allow nanometer-accurate positioning in lithography machines. However, increasing requirements on actuator acceleration and precision lead to higher mechanical, electromagnetic and thermal stresses as well as non-recoverable failures. Actuator reliability therefore has become a major concern, but failure mechanisms are currently poorly understood. This multidisciplinary project therefore has the overall goal to study and mitigate the main failure mechanisms of actuators and their power electronic drives, to improve future linear actuator systems. You will collaborate with other researchers who are, among others, active in electromechanics, material science, and mechanical engineering.

Modern power converters are moving towards wide-bandgap semiconductor components such as GaN HEMTs due to their advantages. Their significantly higher switching speeds result in higher efficiency, reduced physical footprint, and improved output signal quality. However, in actuator drive systems, such high switching speeds result in large dv/dt and di/dt values, leading to large transient electric fields in the actuators. These gradually deteriorate the actuator winding insulation, eventually leading to a permanent failure of the actuator and expensive downtime of the application. The deterioration of the insulation material can be observed as partial discharges within the winding insulation material. By mitigating such high transient fields, partial discharges and subsequent failures are avoided, and actuator lifetime is extended. Additionally, the performance envelope of the actuator drive system can be enlarged without impacting the reliability and lifetime in the application, eventually leading to lower maintenance cost, lower downtime, and higher productivity.

Within this position, you can unleash and develop your innovative and creative qualities to research, develop, implement, and validate beyond-state-of-the-art GaN-based power electronics. This will involve working on modulation strategies, topologies and magnetic components, through simulation as well as practical implementation. Additionally, presenting your findings and ideas to the scientific community is an essential part of your work, for which there are extensive travel possibilities to visit conferences and publish in open-access journals.


Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e)


We are looking for a talented and enthusiastic colleague with a MSc-degree in electrical engineering, with a strong affinity with power electronics, the realization thereof, state-of-the-art digital control, and mathematics. The candidate should have:
  • Enthusiasm and motivation to work on highly challenging research topics, and the talent to contribute to the progress of science and technology.
  • Experience in design and implementation of power electronics and analog circuits, experience with GaN devices is a plus.
  • Strong programming skills (MATLAB, and for example C and VHDL).
  • Strong analytical and research capabilities.
  • Excellent communication skills.
  • Ability to independently organize his/her own work, to solve problems, to achieve the desired goals and to cooperate.
  • Work experience in an industrial environment is a plus.
  • Project management skills are a plus.
  • Ability to participate in the teaching process in BSc and MSc programs (both taught in English).
  • Good scientific writing and documentation skills.
  • Strong command of the English language, knowledge of Dutch language is a plus.

Conditions of employment

A meaningful job in a dynamic and ambitious university, in an interdisciplinary setting and within an international network. You will work on a beautiful, green campus within walking distance of the central train station. In addition, we offer you:
  • Full-time employment for four years, with an intermediate evaluation (go/no-go) after nine months. You will spend 10% of your employment on teaching tasks.
  • Salary and benefits (such as a pension scheme, paid pregnancy and maternity leave, partially paid parental leave) in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, scale P (min. €2,770 max. €3,539).
  • A year-end bonus of 8.3% and annual vacation pay of 8%.
  • High-quality training programs and other support to grow into a self-aware, autonomous scientific researcher. At TU/e we challenge you to take charge of your own learning process.
  • An excellent technical infrastructure, on-campus children's day care and sports facilities.
  • An allowance for commuting, working from home and internet costs.
  • A Staff Immigration Team and a tax compensation scheme (the 30% facility) for international candidates.


  • PhD
  • Engineering
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • University graduate
  • V36.7458


Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e)

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De Rondom 70, 5612 AP, Eindhoven

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