Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Engineering (PhD)

Degree Level



Electrical Engineering


Juan C. Balda

Committee Member

Yue Zhao

Second Committee Member

Roy A. McCann

Third Committee Member

Mark E. Arnold


AC-DC Three-Level Converter, Conduction Losses, High Frequency Transformer, Power Factor Correction, Soft-Switching, Solid State Topology


The three-level isolated AC-DC power factor corrected (PFC) converter provides safe and more efficient power conversion. In comparison with two-level, three-level PFC converter has the advantages of low total harmonic distortion, low device voltage rating, low di/dt, better output performance, high power factor, and low switching losses at higher switching frequencies. The high frequency transformer (HFT) grants galvanic isolation, steps up or down secondary voltage, and limits damage in case of a fault current.

The existing three-level converter based on solid-state transformer (SST) topologies convert ac power from the electrical grid to a dc load while maintaining at least the minimum requirements set by the international standards (i.e., high power factor and low total harmonic distortion). The SST topologies with the capability of controlling intermediate dc-bus and output voltage simultaneously require two full bridges at the primary and secondary side of the HFT. As the power level increases, the number of cascaded bridges increases accordingly, and the price associated with these semiconductor devices becomes highly expensive. As result, the demand of converting high power level led to emphasis on high performance and cost-effective power conversion topology.

The aim of this dissertation is to develop a new low-cost and high-performance three-level isolated AC-DC (PFC) converter topology. The proposed topology replaces the conventional three-level inverter in the secondary side of the HFT by only two switches and four diodes while still maintaining the basic functionality of a three-level converter (i.e., regulating the output voltage, controlling the dc-bus voltage to be within desired limits). The advantages of this new topology are: (1) low conduction losses; (2) low-cost; (3) no need to consider the issue of the power backflow; (4) zero-voltage switching (ZVS) and zero-current switching (ZCS) at turn ON are inherently guaranteed without any extra control effort.

Two isolated three-level AC-DC power converter topologies are developed and investigated through the dissertation. First topology is based on the neutral point clamping (NPC) converter, and the second topology composed of the T-type converter. Two scale-down prototypes rated at 900-W and 1kW, 200 V are built to test the overall performance of the proposed topologies. The first and second topologies exhibit 94.5 % and 95.8 % efficiency scaled at a nominal power, respectively. The secondary bridge (novel circuit) in both topologies, which consists of two switches and four diodes, has 99.34 % practical efficiency.