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A New Way of Powering Information Technology

Fig. 1. Inside of a state-of-the-art power converter supplying 1 kW, 48 V dc power for internet servers from a 120 V, 60 Hz, ac outlet. 1.5U (1U = 1.75in) profile, 5.8W/in3.
CPES' vision since the inception of the center has been to revolutionize the synthesis of power electronics systems by using standard-cell Integrated Power Electronics Modules (IPEMs), instead of numerous discrete components. A distributed dc power systems for telecom and computer equipment was chosen as demonstrative testbed for the new technologies. In 2003, CPES successfully demonstrated for the first time a fully functional integrated 1 kW front-end converter for internet servers with over 75% of the energy processing functions integrated into IPEMs. The breakthrough was enabled by the CPES research that led to the development of active IPEM, where power semiconductor devices and electronic switching components are integrated using embedded power technology; passive IPEM, that integrates the energy storage inductors, capacitors and power transformers; and filter IPEM, for electromagnetic interference attenuation and power frequency propagation, which had been first reported to demonstrate superior characteristics and performance in the previous years. The success is a result of the Center's multidisciplinary team working together to address the intertwined issues of high-frequency power conversion, semiconductor devices, advanced materials, and electro-magneto- thermo-mechanical integration. This paves the way for a complete paradigm shift in the electronic control of electrical energy to supply the needs for the very existence of our society.

Fig. 2. CPES testbed [prototype of the same converter, demonstrating six-fold decrease in the number of components and a two-fold decrease in size.
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