About the Plenary Sessions

The APEC Plenary Sessions continue the long-standing tradition of addressing issues of immediate and long-term interest to the practicing power electronic engineer. This year’s lineup includes seven distinguished invited professionals who will share their thoughts on six topics, ranging from automotive and wide bandgap technologies to energy storage and the future of power passives. Content will be presented live and will be recorded.

Conference Schedule | Registration

Date: Monday, June 14
Time: 9:00am EDT
Auxiliary Automotive Drives Revolutionized by Power Electronics
Annette Muetze, Univ.-Prof. Dr.-Ing
Graz University of Technology

While the impact of power electronics on transportation electrification has risen to the foreground on many fronts, the millions of auxiliary drives used in automotive application have continued to remain one of the industry’s best kept secrets hidden under the hood. With more than 100 of such auxiliary drives in typical mid-size and large executive cars, their role in enabling today's modern car's performances is of exceptional importance.

Given the additional design freedom and performance spaces opened up by the use of power electronics, the number of such small electric drives in automotive applications has at least doubled over the course of the past two decades. Performance, safety, and comfort related drives become distinguished, and interest has spiked in terms of energy conversion efficiency, size, and cost, as well as when it comes to electromagnetic emission, noise, and fault tolerance.

In this talk, we will discuss how these seemingly unnoticed small drives have been completely revolutionized by power electronics, where the beauty and power often emerge in rediscovering simplicity itself. Some examples explored in this talk include meeting the required EMI standards at reduced component counts, a simple drive re-design that can be considered during manufacturing that reduces the generated noise, as well as increasing drive efficiency by reducing the control to its essence.

Dr. Annette Muetze
(Fellow, IEEE) received the Dipl.- Ing. and the Dr.-Ing. degrees in electrical engineering from Darmstadt University of Technology, Darmstadt, Germany, in 1999 and 2004, respectively, and the Diploma in general engineering from the École Centrale de Lyon, Écully, France, in 1999. She is currently a Full Professor with Graz University of Technology, where she heads the Electric Drives and Machines Institute and the Christian Doppler Laboratory for Brushless Drives for Pump and Fan Applications. Prior to joining Graz University of Technology, she was an Assistant Professor with the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI, USA, and an Associate Professor with the School of Engineering, University of Warwick, Coventry, U.K. Dr. Muetze was the recipient of the NSF CAREER Award in 2004 and a recipient of the 6th Nagamori Award in 2020.

Date: Monday, June 14
Time: 9:45am EDT
Wide Bandgap Technologies: Enabling a Broader Power Application Domain
Edoardo Merli, Power Transistor Macro-Division General Manager and Group Vice President

Physical limits prevent current silicon technology from achieving the greater power density and miniaturization the market needs from power products to meet growing environmental concerns. As an alternative, wide-bandgap (WBG) power products are gaining traction in the market because of their energy efficiency and because they help address many of those environmental issues. For example, silicon carbide (SiC) and gallium nitride (GaN) WBG materials, which enable superior overall performance, are helping manufacturers attain remarkable gains in applications like traction inverter for SiC and adaptors/chargers for GaN. Still, Silicon (Si) products should co-exist with the WBG products owing to their cost-effectiveness in some low-power applications or whenever system performance is deemed adequate. As a manufacturer of a wide range of WBG and Si power products under the STPOWER trademark, ST is in a unique position to share our view on the benefits, and most suitable applications for each.

Edoardo Merli
is Power Transistor Macro-Division General Manager and Group Vice President of ST’s Automotive and Discrete Group and has held this position since October 2017. Merli joined STMicroelectronics in 1998 as Head of System Architecture in the Telecom Wireline Division. In 2002, he formed and led ST’s WLAN Business Unit. Merli was appointed Director of the Automotive Product Group in 2007, where he took responsibility for the RF Competence Center & Connectivity Business Unit and subsequently for the Car Radio Business Unit. In 2012, Merli was promoted to Marketing & Application Director for ST’s Automotive and Discrete Group in Greater China and South Asia. In 2016, his responsibilities were extended to include the Company’s automotive activities in Korea. Merli has filed several patents on ADSL, multi-service routers, switches, and throughput management, and authored numerous publications in the areas of Telecommunications, Automotive, and Connectivity. Edoardo Merli was born in Parma, Italy, in 1962, and graduated with a degree in Electronic Engineering from University of Bologna in 1989.

Date: Tuesday, June 15
Time: 9:00 am EDT
Maturing Wide Bandgap Semiconductors Fosters Standardization
(JEDEC JC-70 addresses unique characteristics and behaviors of WBG)
Stephanie Watts Butler, Texas Instruments; JC-70 Chair
Peter Friedrichs, Infineon; JC-70.2 Co-Chair

Wide bandgap semiconductors (SiC and GaN) are recognized for their unique ability to improve performance, efficiency, and power density. Their unique traits are also recognized as driving the need for standardization of reliability, characterization, and datasheet specification. The JEDEC JC-70 Committee for Wide Bandgap Power Electronic Conversion Semiconductors is addressing this need. As wide bandgap products ramp in the market place, standards are also being published by JC-70. This keynote will explore the wide bandgap specific properties being tackled by JC-70. A deeper analysis into GaN device RDSon and transient behaviors and SiC device threshold voltage and reverse recovery traits will demonstrate how standards for reliability, characterization, and datasheet parameters should be considered together. Progress in key areas will be scrutinized for their ability to address the most critical needs. The keynote concludes by examining how standards are being treated internationally and across the entire application ecosystem.

Dr. Stephanie Watts Butler, P.E., is a technology innovation architect in GaN systems engineering in High Voltage Power at Texas Instruments (TI) focused on application opportunities and product definition. She also has driven new high voltage and isolation technology innovations from concept to revenue by leading partnerships with TI's technology organizations, manufacturing sites, universities, and product development teams. In her career, she has produced innovations in the areas of control, process and package technology, R&D management, and new product development. Dr. Butler has authored more than 40 papers and 17 U.S. patents. She is the Chair of JEDEC's JC-70 Wide Bandgap Committee, a Fellow of the AVS, and a Senior Member of IEEE and AIChE. Dr. Butler is also a member of IEEE PELS WIE Committee and the Power Electronics Magazine Advisory Board. SWE honored Dr. Butler with their highest award, the Achievement Award for Outstanding Technical Contributions, and Business Insider named Dr. Butler to their most powerful female engineers list of 2017.

Dr. Peter Friedrichs
was born in 1968 in Aschersleben, Germany. After achieving his Dipl.-Ing. in microelectronics from the Technical University of Bratislava in 1993, he started a Ph.D work at the Fraunhofer Institut FhG-IIS-B in Erlangen. His focus area of expertise was the physics of the MOS interface in SiC power MOSFETs. In 1996 he joined the Corporate Research of the Siemens AG and was involved in the development of power switching devices on SiC, mainly power MOSFETs and vertical junction FETs. Peter Friedrichs joined SiCED GmbH & Co. KG, a company being a joint venture of Siemens and Infineon and originated from the former Siemens research group, on March the 1st, 2000. Since July 2004 he was the managing director of SiCED, responsible for all technical issues. In 2009 he achieved the Dipl.-Wirt.-Ing. From the University of Hagen. After the integration of SiCED’s activities into Infineon he joined Infineon on April 1st, 2011 and acts currently as Vice President SiC. He is a member of the ECPE board and acts as co-chair for the JEDEC JC70.2 committee. He holds numerous patents in the field of SiC power devices and technology and is an author or co/author of more than 50 scientific papers and conference contributions.

Date: Tuesday, June 15
Time: 9:45am EDT
Native American Energy Sovereignty: Energy Storage and Power Electronics Benefits
Stanley Atcitty, Distinguished Member of Technical Staff
Sandia National Laboratories

The DOE Energy Storage Program leads a worldwide effort in addressing energy issues through energy storage R&D for grid-tied and off-grid systems throughout the United States, including on Native American tribal lands. There are currently 574 Native American federally recognized tribes in the United States. Each tribe is a sovereign nation with its own government, traditions, culture, etc., and has a unique relationship with the federal and state governments. Tribal lands total about 5.8% of land area in the conterminous U.S. land. These lands have utility-scale renewable energy production of about 6.5% of the total U.S. national potential and yet 14% of households on Native American reservations have no access to electricity according to the Energy Information Administration. This presentation provides a background on Native American energy sovereignty and shows examples of current DOE Energy Storage Program project in tribal lands.

Dr. Stan Atcitty is a member of the Navajo Tribe and he received his BS and MS degree in electrical engineering from New Mexico State University in 1993 and 1995, respectively. In 2006, he received his Ph.D. in electrical and computer engineering from Virginia Tech University. He is presently a Distinguished Member of Technical Staff at Sandia National Laboratories in the Energy Storage Technology and Systems department. He leads the power electronics subprogram as part of the DOE Energy Storage Program and has gained international recognition for its state-of-the-art research and development under his leadership. Five of his projects have won the prestigious R&D 100 award and one Gold Green Energy award from the Research & Development magazine. His interest in research is power electronics necessary for integrating energy storage and distributed generation with the electric utility grid. Stan has over 60 publications and holds four patents and another three pending.

Date: Wednesday, June 16
Time: 9:00am EDT
The Present and Future of Magnetics and Other Power Passives
Charles R. Sullivan, Professor of Engineering
Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth

High switching frequencies in power electronics are motivated by reducing the size, cost and loss of magnetic components. With advances in semiconductor switch technology, higher frequencies are becoming practical, but the typical result is not the ultra-small ultra-efficient magnetics one might hope for: rather, magnetics have become the critical factor limiting power electronics performance. Ways to overcome these limitations will be discussed, including advanced magnetics design and alternatives to the use of conventional magnetic components. One approach is to use high-Q resonators, mechanical or electromagnetic, that have better performance than resonators built from discrete inductors and capacitors, and can be used in both power conversion and wireless power transfer. The future potential and progress to date on these technologies will be reviewed.

Dr. Charles R. Sullivan is Professor of Engineering at Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth where he is also Director of the NSF Power Management Integration Center (PMIC). He received a B.S. degree in from Princeton University in 1987 and a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in 1996. He has published over 200 technical papers and holds 42 US patents. His research expertise includes modeling and optimization of electromagnetic components for high-frequency power conversion; thin-film magnetic materials and devices; and wireless power transfer. He is a Fellow of the IEEE, the recipient of the 2018 IEEE Power Electronics Society Modeling and Control Technical Achievement Award, and a co-founder of Resonant Link, a wireless power transfer startup.

Date: Wednesday, June 16
Time: 9:45am EDT
Quantum Computing - The New Computing Paradigm

Heike Riel, IBM Fellow, Lead IBM Research Quantum Europe & Africa IBM Research

Dr. Heike Riel
is IBM Fellow, Department Head of Science & Technology and Lead of IBM Research Quantum Europe & Africa. She leads the research agenda and operation of the Science & Technology department aiming to create scientific and technological breakthroughs in Quantum Computing and Technologies, Physics of Artificial Intelligence, Nanoscience and Nanotechnology and to explore new directions to computing. Her research focuses on advancing the frontiers of information technology through the physical sciences. She received the master’s in physics from the Friedrich-Alexander University of Erlangen-Nürnberg and the PhD in physics from University of Bayreuth and an MBA from Henley Business College (UK). She has authored more than 150 peer-reviewed publications and filed more than 50 patents. She has received several prestigious honors, e.g., elected member of the Leopoldina – German National Academy of Sciences and the Swiss Academy of Engineering Sciences; she was awarded the APS David Adler Lectureship Award in the Field of Materials Physics and was honored as APS Fellow, and with an honorary doctor by Lund University.

*speakers, times, and topics subject to change.