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HUANG AND ZHANG: FREQUENCY, IMPEDANCE AND HF CONVERTERS OF 2- AND 4-COIL WPT

Frequency, Impedance Characteristics and HF


Converters of 2-Coil and 4-Coil Wireless Power
Transfer
Runhong Huang, and Bo Zhang, Member, IEEE

AbstractMagnetically coupled wireless power transfer (WPT)


can be roughly divided into two kinds of inductively coupled and
strongly coupled magnetic resonances. In this paper, the
frequency characteristics, impedance characteristics and high
frequency (HF) converters of 2-coil and 4-coil magnetically
coupled WPT are outlined between inductively coupled power
transfer (ICPT) and resonant coupling WPT. First, the frequency
bifurcation in ICPT and frequency splitting in resonant coupling
WPT are analyzed, and the natural similarities are explained,
which have not been pointed out before. Second, the differences of
the conventional 2-coil (often used in ICPT) and 4-coil WPT are
analyzed by their input impedance characteristics. The results
show that the 2-coil WPT is appropriate for short-range and the
4-coil WPT suitable for mid-range applications. In the end, as one
of the most important parts of magnetically coupled WPT systems,
HF converters used in WPT systems are summarized and a new
soft-switched converter is put forward, which has 70% efficiency
though it is not precisely designed.
Index TermsFrequency bifurcation and splitting, high
frequency converter, impedance matching, magnetic coupling,
wireless power transfer (WPT).

I. INTRODUCTION

AGNETICALLY coupled wireless power transfer (WPT)


has been pursued by human beings for more than one
century. Beginning from Teslas works [1], [2], the study on
magnetically coupled WPT has never stopped. In 1960s,
Kusserow used the magnetic field to remotely power an
implantable blood pump [3]. In the meantime, Schuder et al.
began their project named Transcutaneous Energy
Transmission (TET) at the University of Missouri-Columbia,
which made a considerable progress of magnetically coupled
WPT applied to implantable devices [4]. In 1990s, the
researchers from The University of Auckland made a big
contribution to the practical applications of magnetically
coupled WPT. And they named it the inductively coupled
Manuscript received December 28, 2013; revised March 26, 2014; accepted
April 1, 2014. This work was supported in part by the Key Program of the
National Natural Science Foundation of China under Grant 50937001,
Guangdong Provincial Special Funds for Strategic Emerging Industries LED
Industry Project under Grant 2010A081002004 and Electric Power Research
Institute of China Southern Power Grid under Contract SEPRI2011K1168B01.
The authors are with the School of Electric Power, South China University
of Technology, Guangzhou 510640, China (e-mail: huang.rh@mail.scut.edu.cn;
epbzhang@scut.edu.cn).

power transfer (ICPT) technology [5], [6]. Recently, their


works are summarized and the modern trends of ICPT for
transportation applications are pointed out [7], [8]. In 2007, the
researchers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
published their newest progress in magnetically coupled WPT,
which used the strongly coupled magnetic resonances, lighting
up a 60 W bulb 2 m away wirelessly [9]. And the model was
explained by coupled-mode theory (CMT) [10]-[12].
Since the great success of MIT, the studying enthusiasm of
magnetically coupled WPT was motivated [13]-[15]. Shortly
after, different from the CMT modeling, the circuit theory was
put forward to explained the resonant coupling WPT almost at
the same time in [16]-[18]. Additionally, an important concept
of frequency splitting in resonant coupling WPT was put
forward and explained by CMT [11], [19]-[21] and circuit
theory [15], [22]-[24], and addressed by impedance matching
and/or frequency tracking technology [25]-[27]. However, the
natural differences and similarities between frequency splitting
in resonant coupling WPT and frequency bifurcation in ICPT
[28], [29], are not explained clearly. In [30], the authors think
that the frequency bifurcation is related to the system stability,
but the frequency splitting focuses on the output characteristics.
However, it should be noted that the stability problem is with
respect to the zero phase angle (ZPA) controlled systems [29].
In this paper, we will explain their natural differences and
similarities both by their input impedance characteristics via
circuit theory in Part II.
Moreover, between the 2-coil WPT in the conventional ICPT
system and the 4-coil WPT in resonant coupling, there have
been many papers discussing their differences and similarities
[31]-[33]. In [33], the authors think that the two coupling
regimes are the same except for their impedance matching
methods. However, they only compare them by experiments. In
[34], [35], the authors proposed a 3-coil links and
recommended that the 2-coil links are suitable for strongly
coupled regime that needs large power, and 4-coil links are
used in the loosely coupled regime but high efficiency is
needed. In this paper, we will explain the reason why 2-coil
WPT is suitable for short-range and 4-coil for mid-range
applications by input impedance characteristics in Part III.
In addition, the power converters at kHz range operating
frequencies for ICPT are analyzed in [36]. But the converters
discussed are suitable for intermediate frequency (IF), not for
frequencies in megahertz ranges. The MHz range operating

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This article has been accepted for publication in a future issue of this journal, but has not been fully edited. Content may change prior to final publication. Citation information: DOI
10.1109/JESTPE.2014.2315997, IEEE Journal of Emerging and Selected Topics in Power Electronics

> JESTPE-2013-12-0314.R1 <


HUANG AND ZHANG: FREQUENCY, IMPEDANCE AND HF CONVERTERS OF 2- AND 4-COIL WPT
Zin

C1

R1

R2

C2

k12
RS
L1

VS

L2

RL

Parameter
RS
L1
C1
R1
k23

TABLE I
PARAMETERS OF 2-COIL WPT
Value
Parameter
50
L2
20H
C2
12.67pF
R2
0.5
RL
0.001-0.3
f0

Value
20H
12.67pF
0.5
50
10MHz

RS
VS

Zin

Zin magnitude, ()

(a)

(b)
Fig. 1. Circuit model. (a) Model of 2-coil WPT; (b) simplified equivalent
circuit.

II. FREQUENCY BIFURCATION AND SPLITTING

It has been widely reported [14], [16], [24], [27] that


the circuit models of series-series (SS) type of ICPT and
2-coil resonant coupling WPT are with the same topology,
as shown in Fig.1. In Fig. 1(a), VS denotes the high
frequency voltage source, RS the inner resistance of the
source, L1, C1 and R1 the equivalent inductance,
capacitance and resistance of coil 1 respectively, L2, C2
and R2 the equivalent inductance, capacitance and
resistance of coil 2 respectively, k12 the coupling
coefficient between coil 1 and coil 2, and RL the load. In
Fig. 1(b), the input impedance of the system is
represented by Zin, whose real part represents the power
consumed by R2 and RL.
A. Frequency Bifurcation
According to [28], [29], the frequency bifurcation
phenomena refer to that when the ICPT works under some
conditions or the system parameters change, two or more ZPA

Coupling coefficient, k12

Working frequency, f(Hz)

Fig. 2. Zin magnitude of 2-coil WPT. The green line indicates Zin magnitude at
natural frequency and red lines at bifurcated frequencies.

1.2

x 107

1.15
ZPA frequency, f (Hz)

frequencies are proposed for resonant coupling WPT because


of the nonradiative (near-field) characteristics of magnetic [9],
which means that it can reduce the magnetic field strength to
very low level to meet the standard [37]. In [37], the power
amplifier (PA) topologies were discussed from Class A to Class
F topologies. And the Class E topology was recommended for
its high efficiency and simple structure. Meanwhile, Class E
topology used in magnetically coupled WPT has been widely
reported [24], [26], [38]-[42]. In this paper, the comparison of
different topologies will be summarized briefly and a
soft-switched converter will be proposed in Part IV. The
experimental results show that the proposed converter has 70%
efficiency though it is not precisely designed. Meanwhile, the
purpose of Part IV is to provide an appropriate topology to
make WPT be practical. And the conclusion is drawn in the
end.

1.1
1.05
1
0.95
Critically coupled

0.9
0.85
0.35

0.3

0.25 0.2 0.15 0.1


Coupling coefficient, k12
Fig. 3. ZPA frequencies vs. k12.

0.05

frequencies of Zin will occur. It is beneficial for the ICPT


working at ZPA frequency because the phase angle of Zin will
be zero at this condition, which will improve the transfer power
and efficiency. In Fig. 1, the Zin can be derived as
2 M122
Zin Z1
RS ,
(1)
Z2
where is the angular frequency, Z1 RS R1 jL1
Z 2 RL R2 jL2

1
jC2

and

mutual

1
,
jC1

inductance

M12 k12 L1 L2 . The frequency solution of Re(Zin ) 0 may


be one, two or three. Given
RS RL , L1 L2 L, C1 C2 C, R1 R2 R, and M12 M ,
(2)

2168-6777 (c) 2013 IEEE. Personal use is permitted, but republication/redistribution requires IEEE permission. See
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This article has been accepted for publication in a future issue of this journal, but has not been fully edited. Content may change prior to final publication. Citation information: DOI
10.1109/JESTPE.2014.2315997, IEEE Journal of Emerging and Selected Topics in Power Electronics

> JESTPE-2013-12-0314.R1 <


HUANG AND ZHANG: FREQUENCY, IMPEDANCE AND HF CONVERTERS OF 2- AND 4-COIL WPT
Then the possible ZPA frequencies may be

2L
2L
1
( RL R) 2 [ ( RL R) 2 ]2 4( L2 M 2 ) 2
C
C
C .
2( L2 M 2 )

(5)
Assumed R=0, and 1=2, equation (6) can be achieved.
RL2 402 L2 RL2 4M 2 04 L2 0,
(6)
which is the same result as in [28], [29]. Define the quality
factor Q=0L/RL, then 1and 2 can be represented as

(2 Q 2 ) (2 Q 2 ) 2 4(1 k 2 )
.
2(1 k 2 )
When 1=2, the coupling coefficient k satisfies
1,2

1
1
1
,
(8)
Q
4Q 2
which is exact the same as the so called splitting coupling in
[30]. It can be seen from the above analysis that Zin is mainly
influenced by , RL and M. The following will analyze the
influence of M. The simulation parameters are shown in Table I.
Therefore, the relationship among the Zin magnitude, working
frequency f and k12 is shown in Fig. 2. And the relationship
between ZPA frequencies and k12 is shown in Fig. 3, where the
three ZPA frequencies are obviously shown.
In Fig. 3, the critically coupled point satisfies
2 M 2
R1 0 c RS R1 R2 .
(9)
RL R2
Then the critical coupling coefficient kc can be derived
Mc
1
kc
.
(10)
L1 L2 Q
B. Frequency Splitting
According to [22], [43], the frequency splitting phenomena
refer to that in the over coupled region, there are two splitting
frequencies can satisfy the maximum transfer power condition.
And the S parameter was defined in [22] as (11) to analyze the
frequency splitting phenomena.

RS
(11)
.
RL
Taking Fig. 1(a) for example, according to KVL, the system
equations are
jM12 I1
VS Z1
.
(12)
0 jM
Z 2 I 2

12
S21 2

VL
VS

Then the relationship of load voltage VL and VS is

Frequency, f(Hz)

Fig. 4. S21 magnitude of 2-coil WPT.

1.2

x 107

1.15

(7)

1/ 2

Coupling coefficient, k12

Splitting frequency, f (Hz)

Cri
uple tically
coup
d
led
U nd
er c
oup
led

S21 magnitude,

2L
2L
1
( RL R) 2 [ ( RL R) 2 ]2 4( L2 M 2 ) 2
C
C
C ,
2( L2 M 2 )
(3)
1
(4)
0
,
LC

O ve
r co

1.1
1.05
1
0.95
Critically coupled

0.9
0.85
0.35

0.3

0.25
0.2
0.15
0.1
Coupling coefficient, k12

0.05

Fig. 5. Splitting frequency vs. k12, indicated by the solid black line.

jk12 L1 L2 RL
VL
(13)

.
VS Z1 Z 2 2 k122 L1 L2
As the parameters shown in Table I, the relationship among
S21 magnitude, k12 and f is shown in Fig. 4. It can be seen from
Fig. 4 that there are three regions of over coupled, critically
coupled and under coupled. In the over coupled region, S21
magnitude splits into two peak values. Once passing the critical
coupled region, S21 magnitude decreases exponentially with the
decrease of k12.
Solving the derivative |VL/VS|/k12=0 of (13), the critical
coupling coefficient kc is
kc | 0

( RS R1 )( R2 RL )
.
02 L1 L2

(14)

Again, satisfying (2), equation (14) can be represented as

kc |0

1
.
Q

(15)

Obviously, it is the same result of (10) and (15). In addition,


the relationship between splitting frequency and k12 is shown in
Fig. 5. The following analysis will illustrate that the curves in
Fig. 3 and Fig. 5 are exact the same.

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This article has been accepted for publication in a future issue of this journal, but has not been fully edited. Content may change prior to final publication. Citation information: DOI
10.1109/JESTPE.2014.2315997, IEEE Journal of Emerging and Selected Topics in Power Electronics

> JESTPE-2013-12-0314.R1 <


HUANG AND ZHANG: FREQUENCY, IMPEDANCE AND HF CONVERTERS OF 2- AND 4-COIL WPT

3000

C1

Zin

R1

R2

C2

R3

C3

R4

k12

2500

C4

k34

RS

Re(Zin), ()

L1

VS

2000

L2

1500

Fig. 7. Circuit model of 4-coil WPT.


TABLE II
PARAMETERS OF 4-COIL WPT
Value
Parameter
50
L2, L3
1.0H
C2, C4
253pF
R2, R3
0.1
k23
0.1
f0

500

10-3

Fig. 6. Zin of 2-coil WPT at natural frequency.

C. Natural Similarity
It can be seen from Fig. 3 and Fig. 5 that in the over coupled
region, there are three ZPA frequencies, while there are only
two splitting frequencies satisfying the maximum transfer
power condition. According to the Maximum Transfer Power
Theorem, when the source impedance and the load impedance
are conjugated matched, the transfer power will be maximized.
With respect to Fig. 1(b), the frequency must satisfy the two
conditions as follows to achieve maximum transfer power:
1) The imaginary part of input impedance Zin equals to zero;
2) The real part of input impedance Zin equals to RS.
From the analysis above, both the frequency bifurcation and
splitting satisfy condition 1). Moreover, if the source
impedance is purely resistive, the phenomena of frequency
bifurcation and splitting are the same in nature. In [22], [43],
the frequency splitting was analyzed by its output
characteristics. In our study, the frequency splitting phenomena
can also be predicted by its input impedance characteristics, i.e.
under some conditions, there are two splitting frequencies can
satisfy the impedance matching condition.
III. INPUT IMPEDANCE OF 2-COIL AND 4-COIL WPT
A. Two-Coil WPT
As for the 2-coil WPT, the green line in Fig. 2 can be
represented as Fig. 6. It can be seen from Fig. 6 that the real part
of Zin decreases with the decrease of the coupling coefficient
dramatically, which means the nearer, the larger the transfer
efficiency. Once passing the critically coupled point, it is
impossible to transfer power efficiently. That is why the
conventional ICPT works at a relatively short-range distance
but high transfer power.
B. Four-Coil WPT
The 4-coil WPT was proposed in [9], whose equivalent
circuit model is shown in Fig. 7. The crossing coupling
coefficients are ignored. In Fig. 7, the Zin can be derived
2 M122 ( Z3 Z 4 2 M 342 )
Zin Z1
RS ,
(16)
Z 2 Z3 Z 4 2 M 342 Z 2 2 M 232 Z 4

Parameter
RS, RL
L1, L4
C1, C4
R1, R4
k12, k34

Value
20H
12.67pF
0.5
0.001-0.3
10MHz

900
800
700
600
Re(Zin), ()

10-1
10 -2
Coupling coefficient, k12

500
400
300
200

Critically coupled

100
0

Over coupled

100

Under coupled
Mid-range

10-1
10-2
10-3
Coupling coefficient, k23

Invalued
area

10-4

Fig. 8. Zin of 4-coil WPT at natural frequency.


0.014
0.012
Coupling Coefficient, k23

100

RL

k23

1000

L4

L3

0.01
0.008
0.006
0.004
Invalued area

0.002
0

1.5

2
Distance, D (m)

2.5

Fig. 9. Coupling coefficient vs. distance.

where Z1 RS R1 jL1

1
1
, Z 2 R2 jL2
,
jC1
jC2

1
1
, Z 4 R4 RL jL4
.
jC4
jC3
Then the relationship between Zin and the coupling
coefficient at natural frequency is shown in Fig. 8, whose
parameters are shown in Table II. It can be seen from Fig. 8 that
as for the 4-coil WPT, when the distance is small, Zin is
relatively small, which means the frequency splitting
Z3 R3 jL3

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This article has been accepted for publication in a future issue of this journal, but has not been fully edited. Content may change prior to final publication. Citation information: DOI
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> JESTPE-2013-12-0314.R1 <


HUANG AND ZHANG: FREQUENCY, IMPEDANCE AND HF CONVERTERS OF 2- AND 4-COIL WPT
phenomena occur. At the mid-range distance, Zin increases with
the decrease of coupling coefficient, and reaches its maximum
value. When the distance is too long, the expression of Zin in (16)
is meaningless. That is why the 4-coil WPT proposed by MIT is
suitable for mid-range wireless power transfer.
In addition, according to Zin of 4-coil WPT, the effective
working distance of 4-coil WPT can be approximately
predicted. Given
2
2
(17)
R2 R3 ( R4 RL ) 02 M 34
R2 02 M 23
( R4 RL ),
whose solution of k23 can be

k23

M 23
L2 L3

R2 R3
M 342 R2
1

,
2
0 L2 L3 ( R4 RL ) L2 L3 Qcoil

(18)

M 342 R2
can be ignored. And Qcoil is
( R4 RL ) L2 L3
the quality factor of the resonant coils, which are with the same
parameters.
In [9], the quality factor of the resonant coil is about 1000,
and then the minimum coupling coefficient is 0.001. It can be
seen from the relationship between coupling coefficient and
distance, shown in Fig. 9 (according to the formula in [44]) that
the effective distance of the MIT model is about 2.4 m, which is
consistent with the experiments.

TABLE III
COMPARISON OF EFFICIENCY
Maximum efficiency
Practical efficiency
50%
<30%
78.5%
<60%
100%
60%
100%
70-80%
100%
90%
100%
90%

Types of PA
Class A
Class B
Class C
Class D
Class E
Class F

Leq

C0
Vin

Ceq

L0

Req

In (18), the item

Fig. 10. Proposed converter.

Parameter
Vin
L0
C0

TABLE IV
EXPERIMENTAL PARAMETERS
Measured value
Parameter
12V
Leq
128H
Ceq
3.77nF
Req

Measured value
12.0H
2.18nF
7

IV. HIGH FREQUENCY CONVERTERS


A. Comparison of Power Amplifiers
In [36], the comparison of basic full-bridge, half-bridge and
push-pull current or voltage fed converters is analyzed in detail.
But they are suitable for ICPT working at kHz range operating
frequencies. In MHz range, the Colpitts oscillator used in [9] is
with very low efficiency. Therefore, it is vital to find a high
efficient power amplifier topology applied to resonant coupling
WPT. In [37], the power amplifier topologies were discussed
from Class A to Class F topologies. On one hand, as the
conventional linear power amplifiers like Class A, B, AB and C,
the efficiency are relatively low, which make them not suitable
for resonant coupling WPT. On the other hand, the
switching-mode power amplifiers like Class D, E, DE and F,
have their own virtues and drawbacks. For example, the upper
frequency of Class D is limited by the output capacitance of the
switching device. Class E is the soft-switching topology and
with simple structure, but it is only preferable to Class D at
frequencies higher than about 3 MHz and is with the drawback
of high switch voltage stress [45]. Although Class DE and F can
achieve over 90% of efficiency, they are sensitive to the loading
conditions. In addition, Class D and Class DE are also with the
drawback of hard control of dead time. The maximum and
practical efficiencies of the power amplifiers mentioned above
are shown in Table III, which makes it clear to choose an
appropriate topology.
B. Proposed Converter
Inspired by the design idea of Class E, a soft-switched HF
converter is proposed, as shown in Fig. 10, which has the
virtues of simple structure and 100% efficiency in theory. In

(a)

(b)

(c)

Fig. 11. Experimental results of proposed converter. (a) Switch voltage US;
(b) switch current IS; (c) output voltage UR.
Transmitting coil
Receiving coil

Proposed topology

DC supply
LED load

Drive circuit

Fig. 12. Experimental setup of the 2-coil WPT system.

Fig. 10, S represents the switch, L0 the energy storage


inductance, C0 the shunt capacitance including the junction
capacitance of the switch and added capacitance. The
inductance Leq, capacitance Ceq and resistance Req consist of the

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This article has been accepted for publication in a future issue of this journal, but has not been fully edited. Content may change prior to final publication. Citation information: DOI
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HUANG AND ZHANG: FREQUENCY, IMPEDANCE AND HF CONVERTERS OF 2- AND 4-COIL WPT
load network. Due to the symmetrical structure with Class E,
the operating principle of the proposed converter is the same as
Class E. The difference is when S is on, the currents through the
network are in the opposite direction. Similarly, when S is off,
the currents are also in the opposite direction. Based on the
symmetry and difference, the proposed converter will work
well at a several tens of watts level. With the same design
principle of Class E, the experimental parameters are shown in
Table IV. The input power is set to be about 10 W. And the
experimental results are shown in Fig. 11. In Fig. 11, the
zero-voltage soft-switching (ZVS) is achieved. The measured
efficiency of the proposed converter is about 70%, which is
lower than the expected. The reason is due to the relatively high
conduction loss of switching device of IRFP450, air inductance
Leq and capacitance Ceq. For example, the measured total
resistance of Leq and Ceq at 1MHz is as high as 3. Besides, the
load resistance has poor frequency and temperature
characteristics. It can be concluded that the efficiency and the
waveforms can be improved by adopting low-loss capacitor or
inductor. The experimental setup of the proposed converter
applied to resonant WPT is shown in Fig. 12, where the LED
load is adopted to demonstrate that the power is transferred
wirelessly. The input power is 10 W and the coils are
compensated to be resonant.

[6]

[7]
[8]

[9]

[10]

[11]

[12]

[13]
[14]

[15]

[16]

[17]

V. CONCLUSION
Frequency, impedance characteristics and HF converters of
magnetically coupled WPT are discussed in this paper. The
natural differences and similarities between frequency
bifurcation and splitting are analyzed by input impedance
characteristics, which show that if the source impedance is
purely resistive, the phenomena of frequency bifurcation and
splitting are the same in nature. In addition, the 2-coil WPT
(often used in conventional ICPT) and 4-coil WPT (used in the
resonant coupling WPT) are analyzed by their input impedance
characteristics, which show that they are distinguished with the
impedance matching method. Moreover, the results show that
the 2-coil WPT is appropriate for short-range and the 4-coil
WPT suitable for mid-range applications. As one of the most
important part of magnetically coupled WPT, the power
amplifiers from Class A to Class F topologies are summarized.
And a soft-switched converter is proposed and validated by
experiments, which achieve a 70% efficiency though it is not
precise designed.

[18]

[19]

[20]

[21]

[22]

[23]

[24]

[25]

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This article has been accepted for publication in a future issue of this journal, but has not been fully edited. Content may change prior to final publication. Citation information: DOI
10.1109/JESTPE.2014.2315997, IEEE Journal of Emerging and Selected Topics in Power Electronics

> JESTPE-2013-12-0314.R1 <


HUANG AND ZHANG: FREQUENCY, IMPEDANCE AND HF CONVERTERS OF 2- AND 4-COIL WPT

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Runhong Huang was born in Guangdong,


China, in 1988. He received the B.Sc.
degree in electrical engineering and
automation from the School of Electric
Power, South China University of
Technology, Guangzhou, China, in 2012,
where he is currently working toward the
M.Sc. degree in power electronics and
power drives.
His research interests include wireless power transfer
technology and applications.

Bo Zhang (M03) was born in Shanghai,


China, in 1962. He received the B.S. degree
in electrical engineering from Zhejiang
University, Hangzhou, China, in 1982, the
M.S. degree in power electronics from
Southwest Jiaotong University, Chengdu,
China, in 1988, and the Ph.D. degree in
power electronics from Nanjing University
of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Nanjing,
China, in 1994.
He is currently a Professor and the Vice Dean with the
School of Electric Power, South China University of
Technology, Guangzhou, China. He has authored or
coauthored more than 350 papers and seventeen patents. His
current research interests include nonlinear analysis and control
of power electronics and ac drives.

2168-6777 (c) 2013 IEEE. Personal use is permitted, but republication/redistribution requires IEEE permission. See
http://www.ieee.org/publications_standards/publications/rights/index.html for more information.