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Understanding the Basics of IGBT Transistor Technology

time 2023-07-12

Publisher: hqt


What exactly is an IGBT transistor?

  • IGBTs are frequently employed in high-power applications such as inverters, motor drives, and electronic converters. They have efficient switching properties and are particularly designed to manage high voltage and current levels. It is extensively utilized in power electronic systems for electric cars, renewable energy systems, and motor drive applications. 
  • The three main layers that make up an IGBT are the N-type transmitter location, P-type base location, and N-type drifting section. Additionally, it contains an insulated gate terminal that regulates current movement between the collector and emitter.

An IGBT’s fundamental mode of operation:

  • • When a high voltage is applied to the gate terminal’s position concerning the emitter, an electric field allows electricity to flow between the emitter and collector regions. 
  • In contrast, the IGBT enters the “OFF” state, where the current flow between the collector and emitter is stopped when the gate voltage is zero or negative. This is when the IGBT is in the “ON” state and has a low on-state power droplet and a high capacity for conveying current.
  • IGBT switches are effective for high-power applications because of their little on-state power and high blocking voltage capabilities.
  • IGBTs provide benefits such as handling high voltage and current, quick switching times, minimal conduction losses, and good thermal stability. They are well renowned for having a high level of efficiency when handling high power levels, making them useful for various consumer and industrial applications.
  • To guarantee effective switching and protection against over voltages and over currents, IGBTs need suitable gate drive circuitry. Additionally, they produce considerable heat while operating; thus, using the right cooling methods is necessary to retain their best performance.
IGBT transistor

What advantages can IGBT transistors offer?

A few advantages of IGBT transistor are as follows:

  • High voltage capability: 

They have a high voltage capability, often up to several kilovolts, which makes them useful for high-power uses.

High current capability:  IGBTs have a high current capability, which makes them suitable for applications requiring high-power switching.

  • Low on-state voltage drop: 

When IGBTs are in the on-state, there is a low voltage drop across the device, which lowers power losses and increases efficiency.

  • Fast switching times: 

IGBTs have comparatively quick switching times, making it possible to operate at high frequencies and effectively manage power electronic circuits.

  • Low drive power requirements:

 IGBTs are suited for driving by low-power control signals since they need less drive power to transition between the on and off states.

  • Temperature stability: 

IGBT transistor can perform dependably in high-temperature environments thanks to their strong thermal stability.

  • Overcurrent and short-circuit protection:

 IGBTs include built-in safety mechanisms that assist in shielding them from harm in the event of overcurrent or short-circuit circumstances.

  • Easy integration:

 IGBTs are simple to combine with other electrical components, enabling the creation of circuit designs that are both small and effective.

  • Wide range of applications:

IGBTs have many uses, including in industrial automation, power electronics, motor control, renewable energy systems, electric cars, and more.

Understanding IGBT Transistor Technology’s Fundamentals:

For uses including motor drives, renewable energy systems, industrial automation, and electric cars, IGBTs are often utilized in power electronic systems. To comprehend the fundamentals of IGBT transistor technology, remember the following:

  • Structure:

 An IGBT’s three semiconductor layers comprise its structure—an N-type collector, a P-type drift zone, and an N-type emitter. Between the gate electrode and the drift area, there is a metal oxide layer (insulator) that offers electrical isolation.

  • Operation:

 IGBTs work as voltage-controlled electronics. While driven by a low-power control signal, they can handle large current and voltage levels. Minority carriers (holes in the N-drift region and electrons in the P-drift region) migrate as a function of the gate voltage in the fundamental operation.

  • Conduction mechanism like a BJT: 

The IGBT’s conduction mechanism is comparable to a BJT. An N-channel is formed between the gatherer and emitter when a positive voltage is supplied to the gate terminal, enabling current to flow. Similar to a BJT, the IGBT features a low on-state voltage drop that makes for effective power switching.

  • MOSFET-like control:

 Voltage control is provided by the IGBT, whose gate shape is similar to a MOSFET. It is simpler to drive the gadget because the insulated gate eliminates excessive gate current. The switching properties are enhanced, and power losses are decreased using this feature.

  • Switching speed: 

 IGBT switching rates are often slower than MOSFET switching speeds. However, advances in switching characteristics brought about by IGBT technological breakthroughs have allowed for higher-frequency operation.

  • Voltage blocking capacity:

 IGBTs’ reverse-blocking ability allows them to sustain large voltage levels in the off-state. As a result, they are appropriate for high-power applications where voltage blocking is crucial.

  • Thermal considerations: 

Since IGBTs produce heat while operating, effective thermal management is essential to preserving their performance and dependability. The temperature must be kept within the required ranges by using appropriate heat sinking and cooling techniques.

  • Protection features: 

Short-circuit protection, current overload protection, excessive voltage guarantee, and temperature monitoring are among the built-in security features frequently found in IGBT modules. The entire system’s safety and dependability are improved by these safeguards.

  • Considerations for gate drives: 

IGBTs need a suitable gate drive circuit to guarantee accurate control of switching transitions. Considerations including gate drive voltage, gate resistance, and gate capacitance are crucial for effective functioning and reducing switching losses.


The greatest features of field effect and bipolar transistors are combined in an IGBT transistor type. EASYIEE offers benefits over both transistors and is utilized in a wide range of electronic circuit types. Our sales engineers have received technical training and have a wealth of product, application, and industry expertise. The most effective solution may be rapidly offered to consumers thanks to expertise and specialization, which helps them save priceless time.