Welcome to SPEC


Semiconductor Power Electronics Center
Power electronics innovation for a greener, sustainable and more efficient world
  • Power Electronics is the enabling technology for an electrified world, converting electric energy from one form to the other, from a few watts to 100s MW
  • SPEC at UT Austin is a center of excellence with strong industry guidance
    • Educate and train world class students
    • Perform and publish world-class research
    • Design, build, and test first-of-a-kind devices and systems
    • World class facility accessible by industry
    • Technology transfer to industry ‒ Spinout companies
    • Provide advice to the government
    • Educating the public through demonstration and pilot project
  • Industry supports SPEC typically in the following three way
    • Sponsor a SPEC fellowship (typically $60k/per year)
    • Sponsor a contract research with defined milestones and budget
    • Joint proposal to government (NSF, DOE, Arpa-E etc.)

SPEC part of the team selected by DOE to demonstrate the largest grid-forming inverters in the world

May 2023: As part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) awards $4.5m to a team led by Portland General Electric Company to demonstrate grid-forming inverters at the Wheatridge Renewable Energy Facility in Oregon. SPEC, PNNL, BPA, and GE are part of the project team. This project will be the first bulk power system-connected grid-forming hybrid power plant in the world and will encourage utilities to consider including grid-forming capabilities in their own interconnection requirements. SPEC has been a pioneer in grid-forming technology and has recently demonstrated a 150kW grid-forming PV Synchronous Generator (PVSG). In this new project, SPEC will conduct an advanced grid-forming control simulation for the 300MW hybrid (PV, wind, battery storage) power plant.

advanced SiC Power Chip

SPEC developed an advanced SiC Power Chip

April 2023: SPEC designed, fabricated, and characterized an implantation-free 3 kV 4H-SiC Bipolar Junction Transistor (BJT). With a 40μm-wide Four-step Junction Termination Extension (JTE), an open base breakdown voltage (BVCEO) and an open emitter breakdown voltage (BVCBO) of more than 3000V are measured. The BJT exhibits an excellent on-resistance of 6.7mΩ·cm2 for small-size devices.

Wei defence

SPEC Student Wei Xu's Defense

March 2023: SPEC congratulates Wei Xu for successfully defending his Ph.D. His thesis title is "Medium Voltage Utility Scale PV Plus Storage Solid State Transformers (PVS-SST)". His committee members include Alex Huang, Surya Santoso, Alex Hanson, Robert Hebner, and Xianyong Feng.

Zhicheng defence

SPEC Student Zhicheng Guo's Defense

March 2023: SPEC congratulates Zhicheng Guo for successfully defending his Ph.D. His thesis title is "Development of High Power Medium-Frequency Transformers". His committee members include Alex Huang, Alex Hanson, Hao Zhu, Xianyong Feng, and Robert Hebner.