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PhD Studentship: Highly-Efficient, Dimensionally-Compact Wireless Power Transfer Unit

University College London - Department of Mechanical Engineering

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: London
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students
Funding amount: £16,777
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 8th November 2018
Closes: 8th February 2019

DescriptionThis 3 year PhD Studentship aims to develop an advanced wireless power transfer technology (WPT) to provide solutions to the major practical challenges, e.g., efficiency, charging time, power range, and overall size and cost.

Wireless chargers run on the principles of mutual inductance and resonance, in which the use of higher frequency is necessary to reduce the transformer size and also increase the efficiency. The WPT systems have two main parts: High frequency transformer, and power conversion unit. The emergence of wide bandgap semiconductor devices promises to revolutionize next-generation power electronics converters. The extremely fast switching and other superior characteristics of WBG devices have nonetheless also posed severe challenges to their applications. Pervasive dv/dt and di/dt slew rates of up to 100 V/ns and 10 A/ns, augmented electromagnetic interference (EMI) emissions, single-device blocking voltages as high as tens of kV with corresponding insulation requirements, switching frequencies in the 100s of kHz range, and junction temperatures surpassing 200 °C, have called for a comprehensive reformulation of design procedures developed for Si-based power electronics. Furthermore, the transformers need to be design for high frequencies. The dimension of coil will define the upper limit of the power capacity, and the efficiency will be affected by the quality factor of coils. In this project, both coils and core arrangements are required to be thoroughly studied and optimised. 

The proposed PhD project includes but not limited to:

  • To design and build high frequency transformers and inductors.
  • To define and optimise drive topologies with respect to switching performance and driver losses
  • To design a novel high efficiency, high power electronics.
  • To achieve an overall optimization of converter design with respect to cost, size, weight, and performance.
  • To study heat management and build a compact integrated coil cooling circuit.

Person Specification:

Knowledge, Education, Qualifications and Training

Essential: Applicants should have (or expect to be awarded) an upper second or first-class UK honours degree at the level of MSc in a relevant subject (e.g., Electrical, Electronics, Control, Physics)."

  • The Successful candidate requires having and developing background knowledge in the following areas:
  • Power electronics and circuit design
  • Finite element analysis
  • Electromagnetics
  • Programming and optimisation techniques

Good written and oral communication skills are essential.

Closing Date and Start Date:  We will be continuously having informal discussion with interested candidates until this position is filled.

Value of award: Full tuition fees and stipend of up to £16,777 per annum (for 3 years).

Eligibility: This funding is only for UK and EU passport holders. There is no minimum qualifying residence requirement for applicants from the EU. Please DO NOT enquire about this studentship if you are ineligible. Please refer to the following website for eligibility criteria:

Application Process: Eligible applicants should first contact Dr Mehdi Baghdadi ( enclosing a cover letter (including the names and contact details of two referees), one-page research statement and two pages CV. The supervisory team will arrange interviews for short-listed candidates. After interview, the successful candidate will be required to formally apply online via the UCL website.

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